Great Expectations

My son Jackson has officially caught the first cold of the summer in our family.

Children PrayingAfter our family Bible story last night, I took Jackson to his room and tucked him under his Thomas comforter. When we were finished singing Jesus Loves Me, I asked him to pray for us. He went through his long list of friends that he prays for every night, and then pitched it to me. But as soon as I said “Amen,” Jackson interjected, “Wait, mom! What about my nose?”

I had forgotten to ask Jesus to heal his cold!

So, we began praying again, hand in hand. I asked, “Jesus, would you please heal Jackson of his cold and help him to breathe better tonight?”

I paused for just a moment.

Before I could continue, Jackson interrupted, “Mom, what did God say?”

The expectation and urgency in his stuffy voice really convicted me. He believed with all his heart that God had just responded and wanted to know the answer to what we had asked in prayer.

This question asked in complete faith caught me off guard. My inadequate response included something to the effect that God loved him very much and would take care of him. I didn’t really answer his question. It made me reconsider my sincerity as I pray. Am I just saying the right words, or do I really believe God will answer? Am I praying in faith and through the power of the Holy Spirit, expecting God to do good and accomplish His will in my life and the lives of those I lift up?

This is exactly why Jesus said to come to Him as little children. Just as Jackson believes in my love for him, He believes that God is there to protect him, to provide for him and to comfort him. There is no pretense in his prayers, just an unashamed outpouring of his heart, his fears, his needs and his requests to God. And, he expects God to be God, and to do what He knows is the very best. Jackson doesn’t know any better.

Neither should we.

Context

Thanks to Woody and a stuffed ringtailed lemur, Zaccheus’s encounter with Jesus came alive in a whole new way.

When it comes to my son Jackson, putting the Bible into his world makes it something he can touch and experience. Context is key.

So, when Woody climbed up the side of the piano to see the ringtailed lemur pass by, got caught and the two had lunch together, Jackson got to be part of the story. And, he reenacted the story again and again and again.

This past week we took one of Jackson’s favorite snacks, Goldfish crackers, to illustrate Jesus feeding the crowd of 5,000. Jackson got to be the boy in the story, I helped him pack his lunch with two goldfish and 5 chunks of bread. He then shared his lunch with Jesus. Every time he ate a goldfish, another replaced it. At the end we had 12 goldfish left to show the baskets leftover. Even Lauren, our near one-year-old, got in on the action!

I’d love to hear how you have put Bible stories into a child’s context!Zacheus and Jesus hanging out in the tree