One might assume that most children in America have at least heard of the Bible, and of Jesus Christ, and of the beautiful stories taught in sunday school.
But a handful of men from our tiny congregation who weekly go to a local juvenile correction facility tell us a different story. They go to hand out Bibles, and spend an hour teaching the boys and girls, from ages 12 to 17. Every week my husband comes home amazed at what these kids don't know, things that we take for granted everybody in America knows. We tend to think we need to go off to a foreign land to teach the children about God. Not so, those children are right in your back yard, no matter where you live, from New York City, to the Bible belt.
- "You mean the story of the animals and the ark and the flood is real? I mean it's in the Bible?"
- "Will you mail my mom a Bible?"
- "My parents won't let me keep this Bible."
- "I've been reading my Bible, mister, I am up to Genesis chapter 31."
- "If God didn't want Adam and Eve to eat from that tree, then why did He put it in the garden to begin with?"
- "Can I keep this Bible? Really?"
- "You know, I was leaning toward being an athiest, but now I am not so sure."
Every week, I look forward to hearing about the kids at the detention facility. Whether there are twenty in attendance or four, each week my husband comes homes with a humbling perspective from those kids. . I pray for them. I pray those Bibles will stay with them and they will continue to read their Bibles. You see, I identify with them. Oh, I was never in a juvenile detention facility, but at 16, I experienced some pretty dark moments, and ran away. Praise God, I was found before nightfall. A few days after I was found, I received a Bible in the mail. No return address, no note, just a Bible. One of those 'easy to read' translations. And so I began reading it. The day I got that Bible, I got HOPE. Hope that there was something more to life, than what I was experiencing. It took me a while, but eventually I became a Christian. My Christian journey began with someone giving me a Bible. I still have no idea who this person was, and wonder if they ever knew how it changed my life.
Our little congregation has no illusions that these kids will attend our church. That is not our aim. Our aim is simply to teach a child in need, to give a Bible to each one, and pray that they would read it, and that the sword of the spirit - the Holy word of God- will do its work in their hearts and lives. We may never know the final outcome, but that doesn't matter. What matters is that a child who didn't know the story of creation, or of the flood, or of Jesus on the cross, now does, and that child now has his or her own Bible. We just want to give them hope, a real hope which does not disappoint.
Romans 5: 5 And hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
1 Thessalonians 2: 13 And for this reason we also constantly thank God that when you received from us the word of God's message, you accepted it not as the word of men but for what it really is, the word of God, which performs its work in you who believe.
Are you in need of some hope today? Go get your Bible, open it up, and just read. That is where you will find your hope. It is what I pray those kids will do, and it is what I pray this blog encourages us all to do; to just open up and read His word- His life changing, hope filled words.