The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous man runs into it and is safe.—Proverbs 18:10That experience was a gift—it completely changed the manner in which I presented the lesson to those first graders, because my mind and heart had been deeply impacted and transformed by the biblical truths written into the lesson. The list of Scripture texts were no mere words on a page. God’s Word was shown to be powerful, effective, reliable, and true in a scary situation. That Sunday, at the end of the lesson, I briefly shared what had happened to my husband—without being overly dramatic or scary. I ended the story with a note of confidence: For everyone who is trusting in Jesus, God WILL BE your refuge in every circumstance—even death, because going to be with Jesus forever is the greatest refuge of all! All eyes and ears were completely focused as I told this story. And I think the children got the point. Because, though not everyone (thankfully) will experience being shot, we all face scary things. Children may fear bullies, math tests, getting sick, grandpa dying, thunderstorms, robbers, etc. Conveying a real-life experience can help them grasp what it truly means that God is a refuge. So what’s missing from the curriculum? You, teaching from a mind and heart that has been transformed by His Word and, when appropriate, briefly sharing experiences God has brought into your life that serve to demonstrate His greatness and worth.
We try to include an array of helpful resources in our curricula, and the newly revised ABCs of God curriculum is no exception. However, something very important is missing—on purpose. What is it? Let me convey a true story that will emphasize what it is and why it’s missing. About 20 years ago, I was busy writing the first version of The ABCs of God for use in our church. At the time, I was teaching the first grade Sunday school class. The lesson for an upcoming Sunday was “Refuge—God is a place of safety for His people.” I had the lesson prepared with Bible texts studied and all the visuals prepped and ready to go. But something very important was missing…an unexpected “gift” as it were. That “gift” dramatically changed the way in which I presented the lesson. What was the gift I’m referring to? Oddly enough, it came in the early morning hours soon after my husband Bruce had left for work, riding his bike as usual. I got the phone call from our pastor. Bruce was okay, but he had been shot while biking through the neighborhood. A man had held up a gun, demanded his money, and then simply pulled the trigger. But, interestingly enough, as he pulled that trigger his hand fell and Bruce was shot in the foot instead of the chest. After the initial shock of hearing that my husband had been shot—in the foot no less—you know what immediately came to mind? God is our refuge and strength. God is a place of safety and protection for His people. No matter what happens—even if that bullet had taken his life—my husband would have been safe in the arms of Jesus. God truly is a refuge! I have seen and experienced Him as a strong tower!