God’s Love For You, written by Rich and Reneé Stearns, is a Bible storybook with a big worldview. Reneé explains why.
There are a lot of children’s Bible storybooks out there. What is unique about God’s Love for You?
Scripture is the expansive story of God’s love for all humankind, yet we often read the Bible as if it only applies to us — American Christians. By pairing familiar Bible stories with the stories of people living in a variety of places and circumstances around the world today, God’s Love For You reminds readers just how broad and deep God’s love is for all of us.
How did your experience of reading the Bible to your five children influence you as you wrote the modern-day stories?
As parents, we took seriously the responsibility to raise our children to love God, his Word, and the people he created. Reading Bible stories with our children each day, we longed to bring alive those biblical principles through real-life examples. When Rich began working at World Vision, we were introduced to a whole world of real-life examples. So we decided to share these stories with parents to help their children see God’s big world.
What message did you and Rich seek to communicate through those stories?
Our goal is to illustrate not only how much God loves and cares for all of his creation, but also how he might use even the simplest acts of kindness and compassion toward others to change the world.
Why is it important to teach children about the realities of people living in need around the world?
As we live in an increasingly interconnected global community, we can help our children become aware that the world is filled with people who may seem very different from us but are really quite similar. We all are loved by God and in need of a Savior. And God has invited even the youngest among us to help make the world a better place to live by embracing God’s call to love the world as Jesus does.
What is your advice for parents about praying with their children for these concerns?
Some of the circumstances in which people live are too much for small children to handle. But there are ways to gently help children relate to those in need. For example, when you give your son or daughter a glass of water, pray together for the 768 million people who, at least for today, don’t have the clean water we so easily take for granted. Or when you take your child to the pediatrician, point out that there are children around the world who are sick and again take a moment to pray for them. Rely on your child’s natural empathy to draw them into conversation with God about those in need.
God’s Love For You, published by Thomas Nelson, is available now in bookstores and online retailers.