As a parent, there are certain developmental milestones that you look forward to in the life of your child. There’s that first sweet smile and those wobbly, first steps. The first night in the “big kid” bed and the first day of Kindergarten. But as a Christian parent, the most anticipated milestone in the life of your child is the day that your son or daughter prays to receive Christ.
Unlike other events in your children’s lives, there’s no specific or guaranteed age at which this event should occur. But my prayer for my children has always been that the very first time they feel the call of God on their hearts they will respond in obedience. Not only that, but that God would call them at an early age, so that they could begin living and working for Him as young as possible and live a full life of service to Him.
God has been faithful in answering this prayer. Ty became a Christian at 6 years of age, and just a few weeks ago, at the age of 4 years and 10 months, Lucy prayed a simple prayer and asked Jesus to come live in her heart.
So today, I want to write about Lucy’s Re-birthday. Just as the children of Israel collected rocks from the bottom of the Jordan River as a reminder of their miraculous crossing (Joshua 4:1-9), I hope this story will serve as sort of a spiritual marker for Lucy, to remind her of the day she crossed over from spiritual wilderness to the Promised Land.
It was May 19, 2014. I’ll never forget the date, because it was our 13th wedding anniversary. This particular evening was like any other. No special anniversary plans for me and the Tool Man. Just a night of playing with kids, eating supper around the coffee table (because that’s what we do here), washing dishes, and picking up toys. The only thing different was Lucy’s demeanor. She had been scolded once for not eating her supper (which is nothing out of the ordinary since the child never eats – at least not without some persuasion). But for some reason this night, Lucy got really upset when her daddy got onto her for not eating. What started as a pouty lip and little whining, gradually escalated into uncontrollable sobbing. I soon realized that this was something more than just hurt feelings. Something was really bothering Lucy.
But the thing about Lucy is that when she gets upset she refuses to talk. I mean it. She won’t say one word. I was determined to get her to open up, though. I took her to my bedroom where I could talk to her in quiet. I began asking her questions, and through a series of head shakes and thumbs up and down, I started to understand what was going on. Lucy was feeling the conviction of sin, and I knew that this was the result of the Holy Spirit speaking to her (John 16:8). How else could you explain a four-year-old feeling such guilt and shame over all the wrong she had done in her lifetime? She was crushed under the weight of her sin.
I tried to be very careful as I talked to Lucy. I did not want to lead her into doing or committing to something she was not ready to do. We talked about sin (Romans 3:23), its consequences (Romans 6:23), and the only Cure for its curse (John 1:29). I asked a lot of questions, and she slowly opened up and gave answers, even though it was hard for her to talk through the sobs. Finally, I asked if she wanted to pray and ask Jesus into her heart. She did. She wanted Jesus to come in and make her clean. I prayed, and she repeated. In a soft, but clear and sure voice, Lucy confessed her sin and committed her heart to Jesus. That simple. It was a done deal.
The Tool Man, who had been listening from the other room, came in to give Lucy a hug. He told Lucy how proud he was of her decision. But Lucy still seemed pretty upset. After talking a while with Lucy, the Tool Man could tell she was still bothered by her sin. So he took Lucy through the Scriptures, explaining that when Jesus cleanses us the sins are gone…forever! He also talked to Lucy about the enemy – how Satan would like nothing more than to tell us a bunch of lies and try to keep us from experiencing joy. Together, the Tool Man and Lucy agreed that Satan is a “nerd.”
It’s been several weeks since Lucy made her decision, but the Tool Man and I wanted to take some time to be sure she really meant and understood what she did. After all, she is only four years old. We talk to her frequently about her decision and ask her questions often. She knows she’s a sinner, she’s sorry for that, and she believes that Jesus is the one and only Way to forgiveness (John 14:6). As far as we can tell, Lucy has a very good understanding of her salvation. In fact, at four years old, she’s actually got a better understanding of the Scriptures than some 40-year-olds I know!
Thank You, God, for saving my sweet little girl. Thank You for giving her eternal life (John 3:16). Guide her thoughts and actions as she seeks to live for You (Proverbs 4:11). Help me to be a good example and teacher to her, and give me wisdom as I aim to train her up in the way she should go (Proverbs 22:6).