Isaac is rarely just ‘Isaac’ these days. The other day he was a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle all through breakfast, testing my patience by demanding pizza instead of his usual bran flakes. A few mornings ago, he was David from the Bible. ‘Mummy, let’s play David and Goliath!’ ‘O-ookay,’ I agreed, reluctantly. David and Goliath isn’t my favourite game, because is difficult to convincingly keel over dramatically from a stone in the forehead without actually injuring yourself. But I played along, trying to add some vim to my performance though I had not yet even had my morning cup of tea. ‘Raa! I am Goliath, come and fight me! I defy the armies of Israel! Grr.’ I extemporised. Isaac, having retreated for dramatic effect, came running around the corner, bright-eyed, swinging his imaginary sling. ‘Who are you, ya little pipsqueak?’ I sneered. Isaac’s face was contorted into a frown of calculated fierceness, but a little-boy-playing-with-mummy smile lurked at the corners of his mouth. At this point in the process he usually comes up with something like ‘I am David! Haha, I hit you with a stone, now fall over, Mummy! No, fall over properly!’ But this time was different. ‘I come in the name of the Lord!’ he shouted, in a voice high and young and clear as a bell. He slung an imaginary stone at me. I had no problem falling over. You could have knocked me over with a feather. My three-year-old knows the exact words that David spoke!? I couldn’t have been more proud.
“You shall therefore lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates… (Deuteronomy 11:18-20)
In the past few months, we have been ‘drawing through Scripture’ with our kids. It is an enlightening and often hilarious exercise. We work our way through a book of the Bible, one chapter at a time, Peter reading aloud and then all of us drawing something that struck us from the passage. Isaac and Anu, defying all propriety or etiquette, perch on our dining table in a mess of scattered crayons, scribbling liberally on their own and each other’s and their parents’ bits of paper – creativity unleashed. Anu’s paper is usually a rainbow mass of colour, to which Isaac protests ‘she can’t draw the glory of God every day!’ Isaac often comes up with an angle on the passage that demonstrates why Jesus so values the childlike perspective.
Now they were bringing even infants to him that he might touch them. And when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them. But Jesus called them to him, saying, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” (Luke 18:15-17)
We’ve found ‘drawing from Scripture’ really helpful, sustainable, and accessible. The bluntness of broken crayons and the limitations of the attention spans of small children help ensure that we don’t take our masterpieces too seriously – yet the necessarily slapdash nature of the exercise releases a playful spontaneity that we have found refreshing in studying Scripture. My favourite part is going round and telling each other about what we’ve drawn, breaking it down into language simple enough for a three-year-old to understand. Then we put it up on our magic whiteboard wall as a source of continued edification and entertainment.
With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. And you will say in that day: “Give thanks to the LORD, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the peoples, proclaim that his name is exalted (Isaiah 12:3-4)
We have had the joy of ‘drawing from the wells of salvation’ with people from at least ten nations in the past few months. Just this last week we have drawn Scripture with a new friend from a Muslim nation who chose to follow Jesus after researching the differences between Islam and Christianity on YouTube! She endured a beating, received a death threat, and is now separated from her family who remain in a dangerous situation – yet the joy in her eyes as she speaks of Jesus is unmistakeable. She is to be baptised at our local church on Easter Sunday – hallelujah! We happened to be on 1 Corinthians 14, and it was a privilege and awesome responsibility to be the first to offer our new friend some insight into spiritual gifts and orderly worship in the church. Join us and all of heaven in rejoicing over this young hero of the faith, and please pray for God’s miraculous power in rescuing her family and protecting her. The very next day we had a team of fifteen visiting YWAMers over for the afternoon. Peter taught on cross-cultural mission and after dinner people drew something the Holy Spirit had taught them.
Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water.” (John 4:13-15)
We have found ‘drawing through Scripture’ really accessible for just about anybody. We long to invite people to drink deeply from the wells of the Bible, but if we are going to see a contagious discipleship movement, if we are going to feed the Word to our literal and spiritual children, it’s got to be Simple. They have got to take that first sip, have their first encounter with Jesus, and realise that this is the water that satisfies in the deepest places.
And whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward. (Matthew 10:42)
Perhaps you could try ‘drawing through Scripture’ with your family after dinner tonight! It could be fun. I pray for an outpouring of childlike joy, faith and creativity on you and your household!
With love and gratitude for your friendship in Jesus, Peter, Taryn, Isaac and Anu