It is not something I used to think about while I was growing up. It’s one of those things that you take for granted until you’re old enough to realise how privileged you are.
My mom and dad love God so much it defines who they are. It is not something they boast about or push down your throat, but there is no way you can ever doubt their faith. Every single morning and evening they read and pray together, aloud. They have stopped kneeling beside the bed, around the time my dad turned eighty and the old knees started complaining. During a recent visit, I overheard them praying for every single one of their six children, their spouses, the grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Believe me, it is a very long list. It made me feel loved and safe, knowing that not a single day goes by without my name and those of my family, being laid down before our Lord.
Over the years I have seen their faith grow and change. When I was little, faith wasn’t something you talked about lightly, anyway not in the circles we moved in. You didn’t bother God with your trivial needs, you saved your prayers for the big things like rain, illness and exams. Discussions about faith were reserved for church and weekly prayer meetings.
As they grew older, my parents became more open in their faith, to the point where there is absolutely no doubt as to their relationship with Christ. They would never force it upon anyone, but it is the most important thing in their lives.
As I sit here on a Sunday morning writing this, instead of in church, I can’t help but think why it is that, although I believe with my whole heart, it is so difficult to be really and truly committed to my faith. What am I lacking in character to give myself completely over to God’s will? Will my laid-back, lukewarm faith result in my children feeling lost, ungrounded and confused by religion? Will they be able to sift through the chaos of this world and choose God above all else?
I pray that God knows my heart, and I am absolutely sure that He does. And that He keeps working in the hearts of my children, because they do believe in Him. I pray that He will draw them near and lead them and guide them, just as He has been doing all their lives.
I look at my elderly parents with awe and appreciation for the life they continue to lead, and I thank God for His grace in granting me parents after His own heart.
Our amazing parents, Paul and Sv Havemann.