PKs—or, preachers’ kids—have it rough; they really do. How do I know?
I am one.
My father pastored my whole pre-adult life—and I loved it. But it is not without its challenges. In the ’60s and ’70s, when I was growing up, evangelists didn’t stay at the Hilton when they came for revivals, or even at Motel 6. Where’d they sleep? In my bed. And I got the floor.
My house was always full of friends—my daddy’s friends. And my father, the Reverend Clyde Street, had a lot of friends—mostly preachers. When they were there, conversation was rarely trivial, usually theological. There was lots of prayer, and the TV was off. My sister and I were expected to be well-mannered and prim. (And if we failed, Mom had this thing she called a “noggin knocker” . . . but I digress.)
“Woe is me”? Oh, heavens, no! I loved my life. Given the choice between growing up a pastor’s kid or somebody else’s, I’d pick being a PK every time. You meet interesting people and learn interesting things—at a very young age. (PKs, you know what I’m talking about; how many of your friends could cite the Four Spiritual Laws before they could ride a bicycle? Bet you could!)
One of the things PKs must learn is to be “instant in season, out of season.” (See 2 Timothy 4:2 douay.) I remember the first time I really had to be.
We had a beloved parishioner whom I’ll call Sister Dicki. Everybody loved her; she was the sweetest woman in the whole church. Sister Dicki had lovely gray hair, a big smile, and a warm, comforting embrace.
She also had terrible emphysema, from years of smoking, which she only gave up in her old age, after she’d found Jesus. I can still remember her sweet face—and the nasal cannula she wore that delivered oxygen to her frail little body.
Sister Dicki’s frightening attacks always seemed to come in the wee hours of the morning. And as mine was the only bedroom with a phone (right by my head)—the other was in the kitchen—when she called, I was the one who answered.
It was a terrifying thing for a young girl. Sister Dicki would be wheezing so hard she couldn’t even get her words out. I quickly learned what she needed—for “Brother Street” to come to the phone and pray for her. Daddy was a man of faith, and when he prayed, God restored her free breathing. Believe it if you want, or don’t, but I was there.
Over the years, this happened time and time again. Sister Dicki would call, and I’d propel out of bed and run for Daddy. He’d pray for Sister Dicki, and our loving God would answer his prayers and hers.
Then Daddy went out of town.
It was probably 2:30 a.m., and the call came, sending me catapulting off the sheets. But Daddy wasn’t there.
It didn’t occur to me to wake up my mother. Besides, it was urgent. If anyone was going to pray for Sister Dicki, it would have to be me. My sister was married and gone.
That may be the first time I remember having a crisis of faith. Would God answer me too? Were my prayers as precious in His sight as my daddy’s? Did I even know how to pray for the sick and bring comfort to a panicked, suffering saint?
I don’t know when it hit me, but it did—and quick: God was my God too. And so I prayed as I’d been taught—in Jesus’ name. I probably don’t have to tell you that Sister Dicki’s breathing slowed, the wheezing ceased, and directly, she went back to bed, to sleep peacefully.
That was a faith-building night for me. It taught me that God truly “is no respecter of persons” (Acts 10:34 asv). He’ll use adolescents, too, if they can be “instant in season, out of season.”
PKs, learn to be “instant in season, out of season.” Know your Word. Learn how to pray, for yourself. Understand that the authority of the believer is for your parents and you. Then let God use you as He wills. Pastors, make sure your children are equipped to be “instant.” Even if you can call down fire from heaven, if you don’t pass it on, then you’ve failed to teach your number one “parishioners”: your family.
Preachers are called—but so are their kids. God calls families. And He wants them all to be “instant in season, out of season.”
by Renee Chavez