My birthday (88th!) fell last weekend, and we had our two little boys for an overnight (my great-grandsons). They are four and six, so of course the conversation evolved to how unbelievably OLD I am, and from there to dying, and how does that happen, and when, and what happens next … most of this from the four-year-old. I managed to explain that when I die I will go to heaven and be with Jesus, and no, I wouldn’t come back, and that EVERYONE who loves Jesus goes to heaven. He wanted to know if he would go there too, and we assured him that if he loved Jesus he certainly would, and he would see us again and get big hugs! And then he asked, “But how will I know how to find you?”
His Grammy Joyce and I made it very clear that God would tell us he was coming, and we would be right there to meet him!
Little ones are so dear. They have so many questions, and they need answers that will satisfy them and reassure them that their world is good, and safe, no matter what problems they live with. Especially they need to know that Jesus loves them wholeheartedly. I didn’t give this to my children.
When I was a young mother, I didn’t believe in child evangelism. I thought that it was unfair to warp their young minds. I cannot erase from my mind the night that my eldest asked me, as I kissed her goodnight, to tell her if Jesus was God. And I answered, “That’s something you’ll have to decide when you’re older.” And she said, “But I want you to TELL me!” And I said no.
I thought I was so right. I thought I was so wise. I was so proud of myself for handling her question in just the right way. And as years passed, and all of us, me, my husband and three younger children all came to Christ’s saving grace, the nights were many when I wept bitter tears over this searing memory, and prayed that this beloved daughter would, too, come to belief in Christ as her Savior.
God was so fantastically good. He never forgot this dear child and had long since forgiven her wayward mother. He wrapped her in his loving arms, and one night her brother brought her to Jesus. And all my prayers were answered. I didn’t deserve such grace, but then, none us us ever ‘deserve’ God’s grace, His undeserved favor. But He loves us, beyond our understanding.
So, you can surely well imagine the absolute joy I feel now when I see young parents leading their children into the sure knowledge of God’s love for them, and explaining Communion, and telling them about their Savior.
I thank God every hour for His love, and for His kindness, and for the way He created a plan for us to share His presence forever. I thank Him for loving me, and for understanding me, and for leading me into truth.
And yes, little four-year-old … I will be waiting for you when God calls you home, years and years and years from now.