Once upon a time…a small girl, not yet four years old, snuggled close to her mother in the sleeping compartment of a fast moving train going north. It was more than seventy years ago when the two on the train fled from the girl’s daddy and their home in Florida to follow the mother’s dream of becoming a professional writer.
Soon, the girl’s father followed the pair to Brooklyn where the little family established a home. The adult relationship was flawed and spawned frequent, bitter arguments. Many nights, the little girl lay in bed listening to angry voices in another room until a door slammed off in the distance, and then there was silence. It was in New York that the growing child welcomed a little sister, started kindergarten and had her first encounter with snow, one magical morning. But eventually the family returned to the South and the child grew up.
Life was a hopeful blend of over-achievement in school and introverted, private realities full of ambition and apprehension. But as the years rolled into decades, the woman anchored her life on three realities. God created her in love and deemed her valuable. Through faith in Christ, she could know God intimately and understand her identity in Him. By God’s indwelling Spirit, she could express her faith by obedience and invest her gifts and passion in God’s purpose for her life. What an adventurous ride it has been! I can witness to that, you see, for I was the little girl on the train. I am that woman!
VALUE. IDENTITY. PURPOSE. This is the heritage of every human being, God’s gift to us. It is reflected even in healthy secular households. It is the framework upon which Christians build their ministry to children – with children. This is the major scaffolding upon which we base our understanding of the Bible. The Christian community – from the nuclear family to the institutions that serve its members – does well to acknowledge this God-given heritage. We do well to creatively, effectively weave awareness of this into the lives of our children. From the beginning of human history, our loving, Creator-God expressed his love for us, pursued intimacy with us, and gathered us up to participate in his Kingdom expansion. Joyfully, we reflect his character and display his mighty works to the world around us, both seen and unseen. (Psalm 145)
In I John 4 we find the awesome declaration: God is love! God, the unknowable, inscrutable one, beyond human comprehension, makes himself known to us using human terms. As Father God, he created the universe by his word, as the Beloved Son, he revealed himself as the Word who became flesh and dwelt among us, and as the Holy Spirit, he speaks words of comfort and conviction. God is love!
The greatest act of love ever recorded is found in the first two chapters of Genesis. When these three manifestations of an all-powerful, all-knowing, Supreme Being conferred, they had to speak the language of love. Here is how the writer of Genesis puts it. (Gen.1:26) “Let us make people in Our image…to be like Ourselves. They will be masters of all life…”
So God blessed them and told them to multiply and fill the earth and subdue it. And it was so. Then God looked over all he had made, and he saw that it was excellent in every way. (Gen.1:28)