We tell our children stories–bedtime stories, childhood stories, true stories, moral stories, all kinds of stories. One of my favorite quotes in the context of parenting is of G.K. Chesterton: “Fairy tales do not tell children that dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children the dragons can be killed.” There’s an important role for fairy tales.
But we tell some other crazy insane unbelievable tales in this house, too. We talk about fire raining down on a city, dead girls coming back to life, young men being thrown in a furnace, chariots of fire, old ladies having babies, a great King on a horse, streets made of gold, eternity made of fire, a land with no need for a sun, dead people walking around, food falling out of heaven, rivers turned to blood, oil that never runs out, young boys slaying bears and giants, men walking on water, donkeys that talk, and of men thrown to lions. And every time I tell one of these stories, I’m struck by just exactly how fairy-tale-like they are. Hansel and Gretel sounds downright factual in comparison.
But they’re true. Does it hit you, ever, how utterly crazy our faith must seem? If I heard of some remote tribe that believed all this stuff, I’d think, wow, they’re really superstitious suckers.
I want our children to believe in this world that must seem like make-believe to the outsiders; I want it to be as natural to them as breathing. I want them to believe in miracles, to trust with all their hearts that God is sovereign over the food they ate for breakfast, the paving-stones their feet fall on as they walk to class; the moment of their awakening and the moment of their slumber.
I want them to know the True Stories, to know them inside and out and know that the craziness isn’t make-believe, that it’s all real, that we’re real children of a real King, with real justice and real mercy and a coming real kingdom.
For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written,
“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.”
Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe.
(1 Corinthians 1:18-21 ESV)