I questioned diving into studying the book of Revelation for the duration of the school year, but I was even more hesitant to continue with our annual Bible Study Fellowship studies with kids in tow. Even having been a children’s leader, having prepared stories each week for young children, I couldn’t wrap my head around the presentation of Revelation. How could such a descriptive and violent book be explained to children without instilling fear? What would I do when we read about the tribulation of the church or of fantastic creatures Marvel and DC comics would envy rights to? The words of Solomon speak rightly; there is nothing new under the sun.
My greatest fear from the book of Revelation is the tribulation of the church, but as I take stalk, I realize this wasn’t a phenomenon that began with Jesus, it can be traced back to the beginning of time. Cain killed Able because of Able’s relationship with God (Genesis chapter 4). Considering Noah was the only person who found grace in the eyes of God because the rest of mankind was wicked, I think it’s a safe speculation that over the years he built the ark he was mocked for his faith. Exodus is a book devoted to Israel being persecuted by Pharaoh. Esther records Haman sentencing all Jews to death. And on it goes into our modern history with the Holocaust, present day genocide, beheading by ISIS and triggers pulled on American soil because people choose to side with Christ.
Jesus spoke clearly, to follow Him meant a difficult life. So how do I teach my kids about a book that I don’t completely understand? Through simple obedient faith, the same faith that Noah built the ark with. God remembers the patriarchs for their faith and it is by faith we can live out a Christian life.
Trouble will come in my children’s lives because of the name of Jesus, to skirt around faith-based persecution would be crippling. Ultimately, if we are persecuted for the name of Jesus we certainly better know who He is intimately.
Already, my son’s childlike perception has helped me understand verses I couldn’t make sense of (no joke, his simple perception on “those who pierced Him” gave me a deeper understanding of Revelation 1:7). By faith I will continue to read with uncertainty the passages of Revelation, fully trusting God’s sovereignty in the lives of my children.
Jesus welcomed the children, He spoke of having faith like children and He always offered peace. So I press on, studying a foreign book with my kids at my side.