When God Doesn’t Promise
by Alan Shlemon
Nervously I asked my friend, “Is your daughter a Christian?” “No,” she replied, “but that’s okay!” I thought to myself, That’s strange. Why would a mother be okay that her college-aged daughter wasn’t a Christian? Before I even asked, though, she began to clarify. “God promised me that if I raise my daughter in the ways of the Lord, she won’t depart from her faith when she’s older. I’ve done my part and raised my daughter as a Christian. I can rest in God’s promise that my daughter will return to the faith that she was raised in.”
My friend was referring to King Solomon’s instruction in Proverbs 22:6. “Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it.” The key question, though, was whether my friend understood God’s Word correctly.
Imagine you’re reading a newspaper. On the front page, you notice a picture of a fisherman standing next to a six-foot-long fish. The headline reads, “Catfish Hunter Wins Big Game.” Before reading the article, you’d assume the story is about someone catching a large fish.
What if I told you that although this headline is real, it wasn’t on the front page of the newspaper and the picture that accompanied it wasn’t of a fisherman with a large fish? Rather, the headline was in the sports section of the newspaper and the picture was of James Augustus “Catfish” Hunter, a baseball pitcher who helped the New York Yankees win a World Series game. You’d think, Oh, I get it…“Catfish” was his nickname and he won a baseball game.
Notice that the exact same words (“Catfish Hunter Wins Big Game”) take on a completely different meaning when you realize they are in the sports section of the newspaper. That’s because you know that sports articles sometimes use words in a different way than front page stories.
For some reason, though, many Christians are unaware of this same principle when they read the Bible…
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