Why God’s Promises Are Important for Kids Too

God With Us

The struggles and complexities of life teach us through the years that we must rely on our heavenly Father. As adults, we have leaned upon the promises of God and found him to be faithful and true to his good words revealed to us in the Scriptures. From battles with disease to major family decisions, God has walked with us, guided us, and sustained us through his word. While this relationship is indeed developed over time, are these promises just for grownups? How are God’s promises also for our little ones?

Making Introductions

As a college professor, my home regularly has college students sitting around our dining room table for lengthy periods of time. This is one of the things my wife and I love about working with this age group—the deep desire for community and connection. Over the years, we have seen our children engage with this process as well. Currently spanning the ages of eight through sixteen, our crew will sit wide-eyed and interested as these guests in our home laugh, tell stories, and ask me and my wife questions about life. Rarely speaking, always listening, deeply learning.

God, You Are

William R. Osborne

In this book, William R. Osborne uses a clear and warm style to provide a distinct connection between the gospel and God’s goodness, holiness, and mercy as seen in the “You Are” statements found in the Psalms.

What has surprised me about these scenarios is how connected my children feel to the students. They see them as their friends, because they are our friends. My eight-year-old has never had a long, emotive conversation with any of these people, but he regularly calls them his friends and beams when he hears they are coming over again. And I want him to feel the same way about his Creator. The amazing truth about the God of the Bible is that he is a personal God. We come to know him like we come to know other persons—through introduction, and later, self-revelation. Parents who love the Lord, engage with his word, and share these moments with their children are helping their kids meet the one, true Lord. They might not be saying much, but they are getting to know him. These are not always deep theological lessons, but they are helping to create a relationship to a personal God that will continue to grow throughout their lives. Through his promises, they are learning what kind of friend and father he truly is—one that can be trusted, whether you’re eight, eighteen, or eighty.

God Is Good

“God is great, God is good . . . ” so the classic dinner-time prayer goes. And while it may seem like an underwhelming example of artistry and thanksgiving, it is completely true! God is both great and good, and this is no small thing to say. Psalm 34:8 brings the goodness of God into the arena of dinner saying, “Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!” God’s goodness is to be experienced, realized—tasted. We come to taste God’s goodness in our lives when we begin to see the congruity between his promises and his gifts. The world of a child is filled with wonder, exploration, and grandeur. These moments of excitement and wonder about their world are wonderful chances to point children to the goodness and greatness of the God who created it.

We come to taste God’s goodness in our lives when we begin to see the congruity between his promises and his gifts.

However, we guide our thoughts to God in these moments not just because he’s cosmically huge and made everything, but also because he is a good father who gives generously to his children. My children understand the greatest gift God has given them is his Son, Jesus, who takes away their sin and brings them into the family of God. But, they also love God as the creator and giver of puppies, chickens, good friends, cookouts, baseball games, and good stories. Children need to hear, live, breath, and taste the goodness of God’s promises so they can begin the lifelong journey of weaving a coherent life that sees “Christ play[ing] in ten thousand places,”1 as Gerald Manley Hopkins quipped.

God, the Protector

As much as we might hope, we never grow out of fear. Like a parasite clinging to the growing limbs of our faith, it seems to follow us through the various stages of life. But age provides perspective and courage that is hard to come by in our youth. Indeed, the wonder and excitement of childhood also comes with surges of fear stemming from the uncertainties and newness of life. Whether it’s the darkness of a bedroom or walking into a new classroom, fear is fundamental to being a kid.

In these moments, God’s word bolsters us with truths like Psalm 27:1, “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” God is our light in the darkness; he is our mountain refuge to which we can run. Obviously, to us and our kids, God is not literally our light (or else there would be fewer night lights in my house), and he is not literally a rock fortress. These biblically infused images invite minds young and old to envision the invisible. Reflecting upon the God of light and the “refugeness” of God helps young imaginations begin to experience the sanctifying and peace-giving power of meditating on the word of God. Such mental images are not merely make-believe; they are to be received by faith.

Are the promises and character of God beyond young minds? While there is little doubt that children engage with the truths of Scripture differently than their older siblings and parents, the word of God belongs in the lives of little ones. Whether it is delighting in the good gifts of their heavenly Father, marveling at the creative power the God who shapes the oceans, or resting in the refuge of their divine stronghold on a campout, these are the seeds of faith that will continue to grow throughout their lives.


  1. Hopkins, Gerard Manley. “As Kingfishers Catch Fire” Poems and Prose (Penguin Classics, 1985).

William R. Osborne is the author of God, You Are: 20 Promises from the Psalms for Kids.

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