As parents, there are many things I'm not quite sure how to do, and teaching Oliver about the Bible, God's love for him, and the offer of salvation through Christ is one task I find daunting. I feel like I am constantly stumbling forward, clumsily trying to teach him the truth without feeling like I've gotten into a theological point that is far over the head of a two-year-old. But stumble through we do.
We pray together at dinner, and Oliver usually starts our prayers. We read a couple of stories each night from his beginning level Bible story book. We pray before bed, sometimes with Oliver leading and sometimes with us leading. Sometimes, Oliver gets silly and won't settle down for prayers. Other times, he thanks Jesus for all kinds of things that I don't take time to pray about - like eyes and glasses and a ceiling fan. He gets his inspiration from looking around the room. I know he is still learning about reverence in prayer, but his prayers do remind me to be thankful for little things and to talk to God as a father rather than a distant, omnipotent being. In his innocent (or sometimes not so innocent) way, sometimes he gets it more "right" than we do.
We've been talking with Oliver lately about kids who don't have all the good things he has - toys, houses, clothes, toothbrushes, beds. Last week Oliver and I went to the store and filled a shoe box with toys, toiletries, and small clothing items for the Operation Christmas Child Program, which sends these boxes to children all over the world as part of a ministry to them. We talked a lot in the store about giving nice things to kids who don't have them. Oliver seemed to be getting it, but I didn't have any idea how much he got it and was putting ideas together.
Last week, Seth was praying with him before bed. In the prayer, Seth thanked God for the people who take care of Oliver. Then he prayed for kids who don't have anyone to take care of them. Oliver stopped him, "No, Daddy! God takes care of them!"
You might be thinking we must be doing something right. And maybe we are, but I am so thankful that it isn't really up to us. God is using our clumsy words and actions to teach Oliver about him and his love and care for everyone. So, we'll keep doing what we can - teaching him ourselves, taking him to Bible study, and letting him listen to lots of VeggieTales and WeeSing Bible Songs in the car. And we'll keep trying to answer his questions and teach him what we believe. And we will hope and pray that God will keep leading him and that someday he will be able to truly claim God's love and promises for himself.