Because of a recommendation, I recently bought The Jesus Storybook Bible for the kids. The woman who recommended it said that she would read to her daughter, but was often touched by what she read herself. I experienced that tonight, reading the story of Daniel to Malachi and Israel. It's called "The Jesus Storybook Bible" because every story is written in such a way that shows how the whole Bible is really about Jesus, and every story leads back to Him.
At the end of the story about Daniel and the lions' den, in reference to God rescuing Daniel from the mouths of the lions, it says this, "God would keep on rescuing His people. And the time was coming when God would send another brave Hero, like Daniel, would would love God and do what God said -- whatever it cost him, even if it meant he would die. And together they would pull off the Greatest Rescue the world has ever known."
When I finished reading, I asked the boys, "Do you know who that brave Hero is? It's Jesus." And then I told them how the Bible says that the devil is like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour, and that Jesus saved us from that roaring lion, just like he saved Daniel from the lions in the den.
I have to say at this point, that I think that little revelation meant a lot more to me than it did to them. For one thing, right as I was trying to tell them about it, a spider went crawling across the ceiling, and Malachi was so worried about it that he could not sit still. He wouldn't rest until Aaron took my shoe and squashed it.
I felt more than a little frustrated at being upstaged by a spider, but I had to just shrug it off, and pray silently that the truth would sink into their hearts for later. They are so little. They can only take in and process so much at a time. But I know this won't be the last time we talk about all of this, and my hope is that tonight would be a building block for those conversations in the future.
I want them to know that Jesus is the Ultimate Hero. I want them to experience being rescued by Him for themselves. But important things take time. You can't go out into any random field and stick a seed in the ground and expect to see a plant pop up immediately. First, the field has to be cleared. Then, it has to be plowed. And even then, there is so much more to do than just planting. Cultivating. Fertilizing. Weeding. Watering. Sunshine. Waiting. Time. Finally, a plant. And then, even after all that, it is just a little plant at first. It takes even more of all of that for it to grow into a fully matured plant.
When it comes to my boys, it may be a long time before I see that little plant come up. And it may be even longer before it matures into a healthy full-grown plant. In the meantime, I have to keep working, sometimes without knowing for certain if what I'm doing will yield the desired results. That's when I have to trust God. He knows. And He wants them to know Him even more than I do.
I am just so glad He rescued me.