Chrissy and I have not been planning on addressing the issue of salvation with our sons in their early years. When a child is taught to be obedient, it would be easy for a parent to talk his child into the act of saying a prayer of salvation before the child has a heart tender to his need or before his ability to understand the issues.
On Memorial Day afternoon, while Karsten and Haddon and I were heading home from the hardware store, Kartsen asked, “Can we talk about God?” I remember hesitating because I was listening to the first Tiger’s game I had listened to since high school. But I turned the radio off and just started talking…started listing attributes of God: God is glorious and splendid, radiant, merciful, omnipotent, wise, loving, gracious, magnanimous, holy, omnipresent, greatest of Captains, etc. It might seem like a hard list for a little boy who just turned 4 this month, but 1) we have high expectations of him and don’t try to dumb him down, 2) Karsten is really good about asking us to explain when he doesn’t understand, 3) he might not have understood every term, but he did get the gist that I was very impressed with God and thought Him incomparable above all others and 4) I don’t think I actually used the word magnanimous, but I did think it.
When I finished my long list, it was quiet in the car. He may have been letting it sink in. After a little while I asked him if he had any questions. He started asking questions about hell and what was there. He asked how he could keep from going there. I tried to answer everything factually and not to bring my “you need to do this” tone into the conversation. There were a lot of long, quiet pauses between topics before I finally heard these words from the back seat…”I want God to save me from my sin.”
When we got home, there was one of the most tender and precious little prayers put forth from his little mouth as he and I and were on our knees in his bedroom. I think God probably saved Karsten in the car, and I am so thankful to Him for fulfilling His promises of preserving faith as my son became my brother.
God help Chrissy and me to lead Karsten gently and in faith toward his eventual meeting with his God.