There is an old Somali proverbs that says: “The child you sired hasn’t sired you.” It means that the child born to you and your wife is not supposed to teach you about life; it is the other way around; you are to teach him what is right and what is good. You are responsible to teach him the ways of the Lord; it is your responsibility and God will hold you responsible for this.
The Bible says: “Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.” That puts a great responsibility upon you if you are a Somali Christian. God is commanding you to teach your children about Him and how to follow Him; but how can you do that if you yourself are hiding your faith and not following God as you should? How can you teach something to your children that you are going to hide from everyone else?
You are not alone in this because God said: “I am always with you, I will never leave your nor forsake you.” God is with you in this challenge and difficulty. God is with you in the difficulty because He wants your children to know Him and to grown up in the wisdom and the knowledge of the Lord.
Jesus said: “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children.” In fact Jesus is saying “Teach your children to come to me.” Jesus wants you to teach your children about Jesus Christ. How you do that is up to you, and also God will help you do it.
Where water is the boss there the land must obey.
Another African proverb goes like this: “Where water is the boss there the land must obey.” And we know from the Bible that Jesus is the source of the life giving water of the Holy Spirit. There are many instances in the Bible that show and tell us that water is a symbol or a sign to teach us about the Holy Spirit.
Jesus said for example: “But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.”
Jesus also said: “Anyone who is thirsty may come to me! Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.’” (When he said “living water,” he was speaking of the Spirit, who would be given to everyone believing in him. But the Spirit had not yet been given, because Jesus had not yet entered into his glory.)”
So we can understand this African proverb that says: “Where water is the boss there the land must obey” to mean that whatever Jesus wants us to do, wherever Jesus wants us to go, and wherever Jesus is, is where we should be also so that we can always have the living water flowing through us.
Peter said: “Simon Peter replied, “Lord, to whom would we go? You have the words that give eternal life.”
In the midst of all the pain we have Jesus
There are many difficulties that life will bring upon us; there are many tragedies we will have to face and endure; there are many sad days and griefs our hearts will have to bear and we will feel like we are going to die from our sadness and despair. And it is God who has allowed these things to happen to us because He is sovereign and has control over everything that happens.
In the midst of these challenges and difficulties and sadness Jesus is there. Like He was in the midst of the storm when his followers were on a boat crossing a lake and a huge storm came and they thought they were going to die. They looked up and they saw someone walking on the water and they thought it was a ghost. But Jesus said to them “I am not a ghost, it is me Jesus. I am here.”
And so it is with our difficulties and challenges, like the challenge or raising your children as Christians even though your community and family do not want you to be a Christian nor do they want your children to be Christians. God will make a way; God will cause a river of hope to spring up in the desert; God will build you a shelter from the heat of the day and protect you in His castle when the storms come. Just stay close to Him and keep praying and staying in contact with Him.
Be a mountain or lean on one.
There is another African proverb that says: “Be a mountain or lean on one.” As a father or mother, as a Somali Christian mother or father, you have a great responsibility to teach your children about Jesus. It is not enough to live a good life and show kindness and love to your children, because even unbelievers do that. We need to speak His name and teach our children who Jesus is and how He can help us.
Many times we as Christians get sad or lonely, or scared and tired. And we have nowhere else to turn. We know that in our times of need and fear, in our times of depression and discouragement, Jesus is still with us. We feel His presence and see the light of His presence all around us. We can lean on Him in our times of trouble and times of fear.
One day I was speaking with a Somali young man who was very interested in Jesus Christ and who was asking a lot of questions and who had many Bible studies with me. We spend a lot of time together and I helped him move from place to place very often at midnight because we were so busy. We moved so many times at night that he started to call us “the midnight movers.”
One day this young man asked me: “If I become a Christian will other people know? And can I trust Jesus to take care of me?”
I told him that Jesus is the good shepherd and that the shepherd will take care of His sheep. Jesus said:
“I tell you the truth, anyone who sneaks over the wall of a sheepfold, rather than going through the gate, must surely be a thief and a robber! But the one who enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep recognize his voice and come to him. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. After he has gathered his own flock, he walks ahead of them, and they follow him because they know his voice. They won’t follow a stranger; they will run from him because they don’t know his voice.”
Those who heard Jesus use this illustration didn’t understand what he meant, so he explained it to them: “I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. All who came before me were thieves and robbers. But the true sheep did not listen to them. Yes, I am the gate. Those who come in through me will be saved. They will come and go freely and will find good pastures. The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices his life for the sheep. A hired hand will run when he sees a wolf coming. He will abandon the sheep because they don’t belong to him and he isn’t their shepherd. And so the wolf attacks them and scatters the flock. The hired hand runs away because he’s working only for the money and doesn’t really care about the sheep.
“I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me, just as my Father knows me and I know the Father. So I sacrifice my life for the sheep. I have other sheep, too, that are not in this sheepfold. I must bring them also. They will listen to my voice, and there will be one flock with one shepherd.
“The Father loves me because I sacrifice my life so I may take it back again. No one can take my life from me. I sacrifice it voluntarily. For I have the authority to lay it down when I want to and also to take it up again. For this is what my Father has commanded.”
I don’t know if my answer was any good. I told him that if he lived as a Christian someday others would find out.
Jesus said do not hide your light
And here is the great challenge for which you need the help of God. If you are a Christian you need to share Jesus with others in order to teach them about Jesus. You cannot keep your mouth shut and never speak His name and think that people will know who He is. You have to say it, and teach it.
But to do so will bring persecution and trouble in your life. And that is the problem. To teach your children about Jesus means that others might find out that you are a Christian.
So you have a choice to make. Is it worth facing persecution and trouble for the Lord Jesus Christ in order to teach your children about Jesus? Is it worth facing trouble on this earth in order to teach your children about eternal life? Is it worth facing the anger of others in order to teach your children that they can have their sins forgiven by the Lord?
This is a decision you will have to make. I cannot make it for you.
Jesus said: “No one lights a lamp and then hides it or puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where its light can be seen by all who enter the house.”
We are supposed to let our light shine for others to see. This is what Jesus told us to do.
“You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.”
Brothers and sisters, I encourage you to follow what Jesus told you do.
The best thing you can do for your kids is to introduce them to Jesus.