My six year old son is like most other kids, if I ask him how his day at school went he says “good”. If I try to get details out of him he gives me simple, one word answers like “yes” or “no”.
At bedtime however, he becomes quite the chatter box. Maybe it’s because he doesn’t really want to go to bed or perhaps it has something to do with the fact that it’s at bedtime when he and I have our most meaningful conversations.
As he crawls into bed and pulls the blanket close I always pray with him and for him, some of it out loud and some of it is me quietly asking the Lord to bless him and keep him. One night last week as we finished praying my son asked me a question about God and where He lives. “Daddy?” He called as I was about to leave the room, “does God live in my body?” I giggled to myself as I wondered why he thought that, “No, God lives in your heart” I explained, but I had to stop myself from getting too theological on him, he is after all only six. “Oh” he said with a laugh as if he now suddenly understood it all, then he made me take a step back as he shot another loaded question at me, “does God control me?”…I paused because I had to think about that one before I answered.
In my studies I’ve come across multiple books about our free will and whether or not God is actually in control. With adults this question can lead to an in depth discussion on doctrine and theology, with an adult I would’ve had no choice but to pull up C.S Lewis quotes and try to explain my way around it and through it. With adults it most likely would’ve led to a debate, disagreement even. How I answered his question could shape how he sees God.
Perhaps this is what Jesus was talking about when He mentioned we should have a childlike faith, because as I stumbled over my words for just a second I answered my son’s question as simply as I could, what with being put on the spot like that.
I said “well no, He doesn’t control you. God lives inside of you and He gives you the strength to do certain things like breathe, and He gives you the ability to use your voice…” I stopped myself before I got too in depth and he replied with another simple “oh” as if he now understood one of the questions that most of the world’s brightest Christians struggle with, write books about, make documentaries about and my five year old just says “oh”!
Funny side story
Just then my other son, the (four year old) walked into the room on his way to his bed and said, with a completely straight face mind you… “I got my voice from batteries!” To which I could only laugh and he went on his way.
Okay, back to the story
The faith of a child always amazes me, my son trusts me and what I say wholeheartedly! That’s how I want him to trust Jesus, that’s how I want to trust Jesus.
The fact that he is already asking the questions that I didn’t think to ask until just recently is both a comforting thing because I know he’s being curious about all things faith related, and a cause for concern because as he grows up I want to be able to answer those questions, truthfully.
At the heart of the matter though is that my child is asking questions! That’s exactly what I him to do, even if they are tough ones, even if I have to research it and find the answer myself before I answer it for him.
The conversation must not end, the questions cannot stop coming because the more we talk about it, the more we learn.
“Listen, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.