Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6
Recently I watched again the classic film, “Chariots of Fire”. This film which is about the 1924 Paris Olympics, focuses on the life of Eric Liddell. Eric had been raised in China as the son of missionaries and had as his goal a return to that field. But in the year of the Olympics, Eric comes home and speaks at various churches about living a life for God. He finds himself strangely caught up in his nation’s excitement in putting together a team for the games. At a pivotal moment in the film, Eric’s sister questions his running and his commitment to God’s service. I will always remember Eric’s reply when he said, ” God made me for China, but He also made me fast. When I run, I feel the pleasure of God”
For anyone to be a competitive runner the reality is that most of their running will be in training. So Eric wasn’t saying that, “When I win races, I feel the pleasure of God!’ In fact runners will often spend months in training, just to prepare for a single race. So if running, in and of itself generates no pleasure in the athlete’s life, then that training will become nothing more than a painful drudgery.
It is so vital when we are training our children, to remember to train them up in the way they should go with the goal in sight that God has made them for His pleasure. He has designed them to experience His special joy, not just in the triumphs of life but in the long months and years of training. When I see the look of innocent joy in our grandson’s face training to go up and down the stairs, my heart is blessed. His Daddy stands close by and watches.
“Go ahead Wyatt!” he urges in an excited voice. Then in an explosion of delight, Wyatt climbs as fast as he can up the steps.
When Wyatt gets older there will be other kinds of training. It is vital for us as parents to get a hold of that joy, because not every minute will seem joyful. Somewhere Eric’s parents in their training had passed on to him that sense of the “pleasure of God”. So when he faced his greatest challenge Eric had learned how to run the race to the end. I pray that as we stand by to watch our grandchildren grow, that we will cheer them on, not just in the race, but in the joy of training and rejoice with them as they too discover, “The pleasure of God” for them.