Our story of what God is doing and has done in our life is vitally important. Our children need to know our story. We see what happens when children don’t know our story in Judges 2:
When Joshua dismissed the people, the people of Israel went each to his inheritance to take possession of the land. And the people served the LORD all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua, who had seen all the great work that the LORD had done for Israel. And Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the LORD, died at the age of 110 years. And they buried him within the boundaries of his inheritance in Timnath-heres, in the hill country of Ephraim, north of the mountain of Gaash. And all that generation also were gathered to their fathers. And there arose another generation after them who did not know the LORD or the work that he had done for Israel. (Judges 2:6-15, emphasis mine)
Wouldn’t you think that God parting a sea would be a story you’d want to tell? Seriously. Hollywood decided it was good enough to tell and they told it ala Prince of Egypt. It is an awesome story. Wouldn’t you think this would be one of those stories you would want to tell your children and their children? Nope, not Israel. They are living in the comfort of the promised land.
But there are a million little stories that may actually be cooler than God parting the Red Sea. These stories are the lives of believers that have been brought from death to life. Those of us that are believers are actually resurrected from the dead. Our children need to hear those stories.
They also need to hear the stories of other people. They need to hear stories like Polycarp laying down his life in the early church. They must hear that God left a remnant even in the dark middle ages. Our children need to know Bernard of Clairvaux. They need to know the Reformers. They should be taught about Spurgeon, Whitefield, Wesley, Newton, Luther, Edwards, etc. at the same time they are learning of Washington, Jefferson, Adams, and Franklin.
That is why I am very excited about the series of children’s book from Reformation Heritage Books. The first one that I was able to get my hands on was Faithfulness Under Fire: The Story of Guido de Bres. These books are geared towards being read to 2-5 year olds and 5-10 year olds reading them on their own.
I had personally never heard of de Bres before getting this book from RHB for free in exchange for a review. Little did I know that he was the author behind the famous Belgic Confession. He was also a martyr for the cause of Christ. He was hanged in May 1567.
This little book of his life story isn’t much longer than twenty pages and is filled with illustrations. It is compelling enough to keep the attention of my three year old and the pictures are flashy enough to keep him engaged as well. They are not overtly flashy and they relate well to the story at hand.
Guido’s story is very sad but it relates the gospel clearly. The main emphasis of this children’s story seems to be that “strongly held convictions will produce conflict” but that the gospel is worth it. It also helps little children to see that God is more important than even our own lives. These are helpful lessons for children to learn. And children need to hear the stories of how the gospel spreads through suffering.
On the front cover is a picture of a man climbing a ladder with the threat of being torched. One particular illustration portrays and angry mob burning a life-size figure of de Bres. There are a few other pictures that may cause parents of very young children to dismiss this book. However, I do think that the publishers make a valid case for using this book when they say:
…the reader should know that every reasonable attempt has been made to avoid gratuitous, unsavory detail. It would be impossible, however, to tell the story of de Bres apart from the theme of suffering…secondly, we don’t believe it is necessary to shield even young children from the ugliness of life as long as we also provide a context in which this life can be lived victoriously.”
I tend to agree. There is much to be learned from the life of de Bres. But each parent hopefully knows their own child. You may find this material a little too sensitive for your youngster. If you do that is okay there are other books that will serve the same purpose. However, this book is helpful and the story of Guido de Bres and others like him need to be told. And eventually, they need to be told to your child.
If you are interested in this book you can buy it for only $7.50 for your child.