I have a confession to make. I’m a lawyer. I like to think, to study, and to analyze. I read Grudem’s Systematic Theology…..for fun! I listen to podcasts by Tim Keller, John Piper, and others while I run…and I do this for relaxation. I know. It’s weird.
There’s not anything intrinsically wrong with having an intellectual faith—this guy in the Bible named Paul seemed to have one. The problem is when our mind keeps us from seeking and seeing the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives, and in the lives of our children. Sometimes I take my analytical approach too far in raising my kids. Even though I know better, at times I operate under the misguided assumption that if I provide the right inputs—limited television, lots of Bible, prayer as a family—I’m going to get these amazing warriors for Christ as my output. Anyone who has gone through the pain of “doing everything right” and having children rebel against God knows it doesn’t always work that way. At this point in my life, having teenagers has taught me the futility of “good input always equals good output” thinking. Plus, I’ve become so much more aware of my own faults as a parent that I’m not even sure I’m always providing good input (In fact, I KNOW I’m not).
But the Holy Spirit is bigger than my mind, bigger than my formulas, bigger than my inputs. Over the past seven years, I had the great honor of traveling to Uganda to work with churches and their Christian schools. There was absolutely no reason for those schools to exist. When they began several years ago, they had nothing: no land, no buildings, no food, no resources whatsoever. And yet, the Holy Spirit told one man to build the school. Solely by the power of the Holy Spirit, that school stood, and became more schools, on more land, with more buildings. One hundred and ninety one orphans and abandoned children became hundreds of children who have a home, food, and a good Christian education. They will be prepared to impact their country for Christ and His Kingdom. All because God decided it should be done, and put the Holy Spirit to work through those people. Some of them are in town over this next month, and I hope you get to meet them and see them.
The first time I went to Uganda, there was just one school and a handful of churches. Four of us traveled from church to church throughout the Ugandan countryside (in the rain on muddy roads—picture the “Dinosaur!” ride at Disneyworld on steroids and for real). People who literally had nothing sang for joy and gave praise to the God who had saved them and gave them hope. They shared what little there was with each other, and they were so grateful for it. The Holy Spirit was there, providing joy and the other fruit of the Spirit in amazing abundance. Moms and dads who had no inputs to give were raising children who were loving, grateful, respectful, and godly. All because they had access to the throne of grace, and availed themselves of it.
And this same Spirit is living in and is at work in the hearts of our children. Not that the right inputs aren’t important; but, I’m learning that I need to spend less time trying to give my kids the right stuff and more time on my knees praying to the one who “helps us in our weakness” and “intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.” (Rom. 8:26). This same Spirit who built that Ugandan school and has caused it to multiply and grow exponentially, and who allows African parents, who have very little, to raise their kids in the Lord, loves my children more than I ever could, wants them to be more in love with Christ than I do, and wants to work in and through their lives in ways I could never imagine.
My prayer for all of you, my family that I love, is that the power of the Holy Spirit will reign in your lives, and in the lives of your children. Our children, our community, our world, will be transformed as a result. Mukama Asimwe. Praise the Lord.