During the past four days, our church has been fully engaged in our annual action-packed VBS ministry we call Kids Adventure Week. It's a week filled with fun, games and activities all geared to introduce children to who Jesus is and how Jesus wants us to live. I am amazed at how spiritually attuned even the youngest children can be. I was most amazed to have a reminder of this truth hit very close to home.
While chatting about church business, my youngest daughter Victoria, who is four, played all around me, hopping in my lap, kissing me on the cheek, hitting me with various objects, seemingly oblivious to the conversations Luz and I were having. Suddenly, out of nowhere, Victoria asked a question that piqued my interest: "Daddy, what's your mommy's name?" "Georgia." I replied. "Where is she now?" Victoria continued. "With Jesus." I answered. "How did she get there?" Victoria followed up. I paused. "How do I explain this?" I thought. "Well, I guess I just need to say it." I sat Victoria on my lap and began to more directly engage her in conversation. "She died." I stated plainly. "What does die mean?" She inquired. "Well, it's when your body stops working and your spirit goes on to Forever. For people like Grandma who know Jesus, those people go to be with Him." "Will you die Daddy?" I really didn't want to think about that, but it was a great question and a good reminder of how I should approach the rest of my life. "Yes." I said. "When?" She retorted. Another good question. I thought of friends who have passed on from accidents, disease, mishaps and considered my family history and other factors as well. "I really don't know. I'm asking Jesus to let it be a long time from now so I can be with you for a while. But, it's up to Him. It will be when He has planned it." I answered. She responded immediately. "What about me? Will I die?" Wow. "One day Sweetheart. Everyone dies. Most likely it's a long time from now, and Jesus has plenty for you to do before that. But it's a good thing to remember." Her questions had me reflecting on some pretty critical issues. She frowned. "I don't understand everything you're talking about Daddy." I reassured her, "That's OK. It can take a while to understand what dying is and even Daddy doesn't understand it all yet." That satisfied her curiosity for the time being. "Can I go play now?" She asked. "Of course!" I answered. She hopped out of my lap and was once again on her way.
Ecclesiastes 3:11 states that God, "...has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end." Human beings have been created to understand that there is more to life than what we can see in the here and now. Even a four year old has a cosmic curiosity that causes them to ponder deep questions and seek meaningful answers. Jesus was well aware of this a took time to address the spiritual needs of children. Many of us are familiar with Jesus' advocacy for children as expressed in the gospels. Mark 10:13-16 reports,
1People were bringing little children to Jesus to have Him touch them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it." And he took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them.
Jesus became indignantly angry when His disciples became too absorbed with their own goals and agendas to recognize the clear responsibility and opportunity of ministry that stood right before them. I am thankful to Victoria for reminding me of the reason we do our Kids Adventure Week each year. Children are of the utmost importance to Jesus and deserve our prioritized focus, our loving attention, our nurturing touch and our spiritual blessing. Keep your eyes open in your daily walk for the opportunities the Lord will give you to bless a child. The attention you give will please the Lord and may help to provide some important answers to the spiritual questions the Lord has placed in their hearts. until next time...