Every child born into the world, whether to poverty or privilege, is special to the creator God, who gives life to all mankind. All of God’s purposes for the continuance of the race are wrapped up in the coming of children into the world.
In every great crisis in man’s relationship with God, a child has been used to fulfil the prophetic word: to bring a people back from apostasy, or trumpet forth the news of a coming Saviour; from a slave prison in Egypt a deliverer came. Similarly, from three barren women God moved to bring three Nazarites into the world, in Samson to rescue a people from democracy, in Samuel to bring a nation out of the abyss of apostasy, and in the great Baptist, to herald the news that the King was coming.
The Lord himself loved children, as recorded, ‘Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye cannot enter the kingdom of heaven’, Matt. 18. 3. Again, He tells us without preamble, ‘It is not the will of your Father … that one of these little ones should perish’, v. 14. In this context, He speaks of angels and children and guardianship.
In opposition to this, Satan knows these things and it has always been his desire to frustrate the Divine will. In Eden’s garden the promise was given that the seed of the woman shall bruise the serpent’s head. Thus, through the seed of Abraham, through whom all nations of the earth will be blessed, and through the seed of David, whereby the throne would be established, up until the time a promised child was born, Satan has sought to destroy the promised seed. From the children cast into the Nile, through Athaliah killing all but one of Israel’s princes, up to Herod murdering the innocents and ‘Rachel weeping for her children’, 1 kill the child, destroy the seed, break the chain, has always been Satan’s purpose.
Today, it seems as if the battle for the minds and souls of the race has intensified, and the ground of this warfare is in the fertile minds of young people. The religionist has always said, ‘Give me a child till they are six and I will have him forever’.2 When people are older, their minds and opinions are mostly set, but children are open and yet to grow, ready to explore and enjoy this great adventure of faith that God has promised. If only this vast field can be exploited and touched by the unchanging word of God!
Satan knows this, and in our age children are bombarded on every side with error, and even baser ideas. From same-sex marriage, so called, to theories of evolution, from blatant promiscuity to the promise of abortion by entitlement, from the very real power of ‘peer pressure’ to very easily obtained contraception, young people are seduced and pressurized away from God and His word, and the concept of ‘living for God’ is ridiculed, both publicly and privately. An over-exposure to television and the internet contribute to this atmosphere of godless self-will and self satisfaction.
It can be very difficult for parents, struggling with work life, family life, and the normal aspirations of children, to cope and counter this flood tide of anti-God propa-ganda, and this is where grand-parents can help.
Older people have time to set aside, specific time to pray for grandchildren and, instead of grumbling about noise, youth and irresponsibility, can make a real effort by telephone, letter, Skype, or, if possible, face to face, to bring their years of experience to help and encourage young people.
Some time past, a group of young people were telling me how tough it was in a group of unbelieving friends, and how hard it was today. After listening for some time I said, ‘It has always been hard’ – to kneel and pray in a room of thirty men on the first night of National Service, did they think it was easy? And many older people have been in these circumstances and benefited from them.
Some, probably many, grandparents have unbelieving children, and therefore grandchildren who have no knowledge of salvation. It would be our greater responsibility to build bridges, make time, keep in touch and, by life and love, keep trying to give the opportunity to hear the way of salvation.
In Ecclesiastes, the last chapter gives a picture of an old man sitting with his grandson reminiscing, remembering and talking about many things in an interesting way. He talks about
Because he was wise he used acceptable words. Children and young people are often very interested in yesterday, life in a past era, and this can provide grandparents with an opportunity to talk about the past, if used wisely to create an interest and give opportunities to converse.
The actions of grandparents in relation to grandchildren today require patience, perseverance, and, above all, prayer. Many of us will doubtless not see the results of our hopes and visions, but the day will declare the results of a generation for God.