There was a young man who feared the Lord, living in covenant fellowship with his God. He had learned to wait patiently upon the Lord in all things. He knew the greatness of his salvation and sought to live in thankful obedience. His desire was to serve God with his life in the church until it pleased the Lord to take him to glory. He struggled with sin daily, but at the end of the week he found strength in the House of God. When he looked at the anxious and distressed faces of those who looked to the world for satisfaction, he gave thanks to God for his salvation and his place in the church.
In the course of time, God brought a young lady to him and they were happily married. He looked diligently to God’s Word for instruction concerning his new role as husband. He worked at a marriage relationship that would reflect the love and fellowship between God and His church.
The Lord also gave them a baby boy. What joy he brought to their home! The man and his wife desired above all to see their son enjoy the same peace and happiness which they enjoyed as they lived in the fear of the Lord. Encouraged by God’s covenant promise, they trained him up in the fear of the Lord. They told him the Bible stories of God’s covenant faithfulness. They sang the songs of Zion. They taught him to pray. They took him to church. They sent him to catechism. They sent him to a Christian school. They taught him how to read and study God’s Word. Through earthly poverty and prosperity they continued to fill their home with the peace and joy which the Lord had given to them for the boy to see and know. They warned the boy of the sorrow and destruction sure to come if he departed from the ways of God.
The boy listened intently to all the wonderful works of God. He sang with vigor the first song he learned in Kindergarten “All that I am I owe to Thee, Thy wisdom, Lord, hath fashioned me; I give my maker thankful praise, Whose wondrous works my soul amaze.” And the boy and his parents were happy and content in the Lord.
One day when the boy grew older he went out into the world with his friends. When he came back he was no longer happy. He said to his mom and dad, “My friends do exciting things. They watch movies, they dance, and they have fun. I want to have fun with them. There are so many things in the world to see and do. May I borrow the car?” His parents were very sad for they knew that this was not the path of godliness and joy. They reminded him of God’s Word, the path of obedience to Him that he must follow, the peace within their home, and the warning of sorrow that awaits those who stray.
But the boy wanted to enjoy the things of the world. He argued that things were now different from the days when they were young. They were old fashioned. He needed to learn the ways of this world and they just did not understand his needs. At last after strict instructions they gave him the keys. The boy started the car, and he was happy.
The boy was gone from home more now. His parents were sad. They prayed for their boy, and waited each night for him to come home. When he did come home, they were glad that he was safely in his warm bed. They hoped he read the Bible which they had laid there on the covers for him to read. They made sure he was in church on the Lord’s Day that he might taste of the living water which nourished their souls. In covenant hope they prayed that God would restore him to the fold.
But the boy was not happy in the world. He wanted more. He wanted more money to buy the things that he saw advertised in the magazines and stores. He wanted more freedom. He wanted his own car that would take him to the places he wanted to go. Then, he thought, he would be happy.
His parents reminded him that true freedom was found only in obedience to God and a life of covenant friendship with Him. He heard it from his parents. He heard it from the pulpit. He heard it in school. He heard it in catechism, but he did not hear. He said, “Yes, I know all that, but I want to have fun, I want a job and a car so I can buy the things I want.”
His parents were very sad. “Why can’t he see?” they wondered. “It is boring at home,” he said, “I just want to have some fun now. I will settle down and get serious when I get a little older.” “Your fun is like a vapor,” his parents replied, “the fun you seek is a slippery slide to hell. Each moment of sinful fun today will only reap sorrow for tomorrow. Is there no godly fun to be had with your fellow young people in the church? You must walk in the fear of Jehovah.” They waited patiently. They helped him find a job close to home. They helped him buy his first car. They continued to pray and made sure he went to church. He went to work in his new car, and he was happy.
Now his parents saw him even less. They worried when he came home late. They prayed to God that He would protect their son and open his eyes to see the foolishness of seeking happiness in the things of this world. They prayed to God that He would remember His covenant promises.
One day the boy drove on the yard with loud music booming in his car. He sat at the table with his mom and dad. His coat smelled of cigarette smoke. He looked tired and he was sad. The little fun he had in the world was spent and he had nothing left. “Come sit and talk with us, son, you look tired and sad. Let us sing some songs and be happy. Let us enjoy fellowship together in our Lord. You will find happiness here at home.”
“No, Mom; no, Dad, you just don’t understand” said the boy. “Today is different, life is not so easy, not black and white like you think. The songs you sing are too old, the preaching is too deep, and the church people are stuffy. The religion for me needs to have more excitement. There are so many other good people in churches that are much more exciting than ours.”
Just then he heard the soft wavering voice of his mother singing “Ere into being I was bro’t, Thy eye did see, and in Thy tho’t My life in all its perfect plan Was ordered ere my days began.” The tune brought back memories of happy contentment. The words which he never fully understood now seemed to answer all his questions. He went to his room with the words of the last verse in his head “Search me, O God, my heart discern, Try me, my inmost tho’t to leam; And lead me, if in sin I stray, To choose the everlasting way.”
As the days went by, the preaching, his reading of Scripture, and prayers began to unlock the doors of the treasure boxes of knowledge in his heart which had been filled in his younger years but ignored heretofore. How thankful now, he was, for godly parents who feared the Lord; for a faithful church that preached God’s word. Now the things of this world were of minor importance as he searched for his place of service in the church. He wished he had not wasted those years in the world. The reckless behavior had weakened his body, the temple of the Lord, and he could never quite shake the guilt. Some of his friends who grew up in the church, still wallowed in the foolish ways of the world. How glad he was that he was a child of God, that the Lord had found him wandering, and had brought him back to the fold of peace. His parents were right. God’s Word is true. This was true happiness.
The Lord blessed him further with a godly wife and a joyful marriage. They prayed for covenant children and he gave to them a baby boy. What joy he brought to their home!
The man and his wife desired above all to see their son enjoy the same peace and happiness which they enjoyed as they lived in the fear of the Lord. They wondered how to preserve him from the foolish paths that they had taken in their younger days. “Let us trust in the Lord and obey Him,” said they. “May the fear of the Lord be always in our home, for God is faithful in His covenant promises.” So they trained him up in the fear of the Lord. They told him the Bible stories of God’s covenant faithfulness. They sang the songs of Zion. They taught him to pray. They took him to church. They sent him to catechism. They sent him to a Christian school. They taught him how to read and study God’s Word. Through earthly poverty and prosperity they continued to fill their home with the peace and joy which the Lord had given to them for the boy to see and know. They warned the boy of the sorrow and destruction sure to come if he departed from the ways of God.
The boy listened intently to all the wonderful works of God. He sang with vigor the first song he learned in Kindergarten “All that I am I owe to Thee, Thy wisdom, Lord, hath fashioned me; I give my maker thankful praise, Whose wondrous works my soul amaze.” And the boy and his parents were happy.