November 6, 2014
Sometimes it takes an innocent child and their open, trusting ways to really demonstrate the beauty of simple faith. Children can be so much more in tune to truth and holiness than adults. I was reminded of this lesson this past week when I read my child a story of what might be the bones of biblical giants unearthed in northern Israel. “See,” my 5-year-old son replied. “I told you they really exist.”
My husband and I shower our children with biblical stories. We go through the awesome tales of creation in Genesis, the Temple services in the book of Exodus, and the fundamental inspiring lessons that we learn from our forefathers throughout the Bible. Our goal with our children is to have biblical stories delicately interwoven within the stories of their own lives; we want the biblical values of faith, kindness, and worship to be an intrinsic part of their upbringing.
Yet, it’s not always easy.
How to compete with the modern world, a world void of spirituality and faith, is a question that my husband and I often ponder. How do we make ancient Bible stories more exciting and appealing to our kids than the nonsense that they see on television, billboards, and in magazines?
Because we are lucky enough to live in the Holy Land, we try to make the stories in the Bible come alive – both for ourselves and for our children – by visiting biblical sites. Together as a family, we have toured the ancient ruins of Tiberius and heard of the miraculous stories that took place at that very spot, we have stood at the Western Wall and learned about the ancient Temple sacrifices, and we have hiked the Judean Desert where so much of our people’s history took place.
But what really lights up my son’s soul are the biblical stories of giants. When my precious boy was just 2 years old and I told him the heroic story of David defeating Goliath, he put down the toys he was holding and stood frozen in place. “Mommy,” my son said with a huge smile on his face, as if his whole world changed at that very moment. “Are there REALLY such things as giants?”
I pulled my son lovingly into my lap and I told him the truth. “I believe that there used to be giants in the world, because the Bible says so. But in this world as we know it – without giants – it’s hard to imagine.” My faithful son thought about my answer, and then looked me straight in the eyes. “It’s not hard for me to imagine,” he said. “If the Bible says it, it’s true.”
From that moment forward, my son’s curiosity has only grown on the subject of giants. “Were giants as big as that building?” my son asks when we pass the booming skyline of Tel Aviv. “Would giants eat this entire grocery store?” he inquires when we go food shopping. “How big were giants’ beds?” he asks before going to sleep. “I don’t know, honey,” is how I usually respond, yet even without answers, his faith has persisted. He has never lost his belief that giants indeed once inhabited the land on which he lives, simply because the Bible says so.
For years, as the stories of biblical giants have been alive in my home, and the many questions on them have remained unanswered, a part of me doubted their authenticity. Sometimes it is just too hard to imagine something so different from the reality in which we live right now.
From this experience, as well as from so many other conversations with my children, I’ve again learned an important lesson: Even as I grow older in years, I should never stop striving to have the simple faith of a child.
With blessings from the Holy Land,