When my son Jacob was in 5th grade, he studied the curriculum, My Purpose Will Stand: A Study on the Providence of God in Sunday School. Week after week I would ask him what he was learning. Much to my frustration, his typical reply was something like, "We learned stuff about God," or some other vague answer.
My questions at the time were:
- Isn't he paying attention?
- Is anything sinking in to his head or heart?
- Are the truths being taught too deep for a hyperactive 5th-grade boy to understand?
These kinds of questions often tempt churches, teachers, and parents to prematurely abandon teaching weighty truths to children. But before you make that mistake, let me finish the story.
A few weeks later, on a bitter and cold winter day in Minnesota, he found a stray cat outside. Jacob came running inside the house to ask me if I had anything he could use to wrap up the cat. I replied, "I just happen to have thrown out an old blanket and it's down in the rag basket. You can use that." My son's response...
"See Mom, God foreordained that."
My mouth dropped open about a foot. Where in the world did he come up with that answer? Well, he had learned that big word and concept in his 5th grade Sunday School class. It was some of the "stuff about God" he had vaguely conveyed to me. In God's wise timing, He caused a deep truth taught to be "caught" by Jacob. But the concept had to be there first. The word "foreordain" was taught. It was a big truth that he grew into.
And my questions were answered:
- He was paying attention after all.
- It did sink in to his mind and heart.
- The truth was not too big for a hyperactive 5th grade boy to understand.
(Yes, we kept the cat. Due to the fact that my family is filled with animal lovers, we ended up supporting a whole herd of feral cats. (Not a good idea!))