Well, it is beginning to happen. Our 4 year old son, Jonah, is starting to ask hard questions. Recently we have spent a lot of time answering questions about where Jesus is right now, why he died, and various other Jesus related inquiries. Just the other night after some discipline time Jonah told Erin, "I just want to go to Heaven and be with Jesus." That may have stemmed from his dislike of discipline but it also could be because he actually does want to be with Jesus. Regardless, it is really fun to watch him try to figure out what Mommy and Daddy believe.
This brings me to the question Jonah asked me in the car yesterday. We were on our way to his soccer practice which is about 15 minutes from where we live. Usually I use this time to tell him he needs to share and that if someone takes the ball he can't throw a fit because that is what soccer is all about. However, I decided to drive a different way yesterday and we passed by a couple churches. One church had a giant statue of Jesus on the cross hanging on the outside of the building. The other church had just a simple cross sans Jesus. Jonah said, "Look at the statchio (statue) of Jesus! He looks dead." I went on to tell him that Jesus was alive and well and that some churches have statues like that to remind us what Jesus accomplished through the cross. That made sense to him, but then he asked again, "Dad, where is Jesus?". I told him that He is sitting at the right hand of God holding all creation together. That made sense to him too. Then I went on to tell him that when Jesus went up to Heaven to be with God He told the people that loved Him that He would send a Helper to be with them. I explained that this Helper is the Holy Spirit, which is God's Spirit that lives in us. I used very simple words and he was getting it. He actually seemed to like the whole idea. He liked it, that is, until I said, "...So God lives inside Mommy and Daddy."
He looked conscerned. In the most worried and honest tone I've ever heard he asked, "Daddy, why doesn't God live in me too?".
What does a father say? How can you tell your own son that he is not a Christian? I wanted nothing more than to just say, "Well, he does buddy, because you said you loved Him the other day," but I didn't. That would be dishonest of me. So I said, "Jonah. Mommy and Daddy were very bad people, and in a lot of ways we are still very bad people, but one day God changed our hearts from stone to flesh and helped us to see that we needed Him to save us from that. What I hope is that one day Jesus will do the same for you and that God will one day live inside of you too."
What do you think he did? Was that a good answer? I don't know if it was, but he seemed to be ok with it. This is actually the second time we've talked about this but he's asked it differently the first time. Is it cruel to tell my son to his face that he is not a Christian yet? No, not if I do it lovingly. Hopefully this is God's work in slowly drawing Jonah to Himself.
I sincerely pray that all of my children would be saved, but I know that even when that day comes for each of them (if God wills) the teaching doesn't stop. I can't wipe away the sweat from years of praying for them and stop because they are "saved". I can't "let up" on how much they need the gospel just because they reached "that point". I would be in great error if all I was trying to do was get them saved so that our burden as parents could be lifted.
I really love these questions. It's really fun talking with my son about God in all His wonder and seeing him think deeply about it. I'm sure more questions are to follow, and all I can say is, "Bring 'em on little guy."