Tyler asked that tonight.
Let me start at the beginning. Tonight was a nice calm normal night in the Bishop house. The kids played outside while Doug mowed. We ate dinner. Tyler helped me clean up the kitchen and we all settled down for the evening. Or stood on our heads as Tyler is in the habit of doing now. We got him right side up and his blood once again was more evenly distributed throughout his body by the time we finished reading The Swiss Family Robinson chapter and the Bible story. Then came the question.
"I've got this question I keep thinkin' about," he said. "There are so many books how do I know which ones are true and which ones aren't. And how do I know which god is the real God. What if I believe the wrong one and I die and I'm not in heaven. I mean, I could live my whole life and still be wrong."
Yes. He really did say all that.
I looked at Doug. He looked at me. We both looked at the floor. Neither of us wanted to try and give him a pat answer to a question that can be found - at one time or another - in the heart of every person I know.
"Are You really God?"
Just last week I was listening to Moody radio. I heard a little blurb from Focus on the Family about when your kids start to question God. Naive me didn't really pay attention. "I've got years before I'll need that info." Or so I thought. Ha! What I remember them saying is something about encouraging your children to question.
My mind jumped at ways to defend my faith. My Christian worldview training and apologetics kicked into overdrive. (Thanks for all those years of teaching, Mom and Dad.) Thankfully the Lord had a muzzle handy because I couldn't say a word. My mind went into prayerful overdrive. I have been reading (for the third or fourth time) a wonderful parenting book by Ted Tripp, Shepherding A Child's Heart. Tripp encourages parents not only to speak truth to our children, but listen carefully to them. He says we need to learn to be skillful at drawing out their thoughts. "Out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks." If we hear our children's hearts, he says, we will be able to help direct them. Our job as parents isn't to control them, but to teach them to submit to the Lord and His direction. Those thoughts were fresh in my mind as I tried to listen as Ty continued to pour out the questions stored in his heart.
Doug and I encouraged Ty that it is okay to question God and ask who He is. We told him God loves for us to question Him. We told him that God will answer those that seek Him. It was hard for me to do that. I want Tyler to keep his childlike faith. I wanted to rush Becca to bed so she doesn't hear questions that get her asking questions too. One at a time please.
As I got ready for bed it was my turn. I pleaded with God to keep my son close to His heart. I pleaded for protection for his body, mind, spirit and soul. I pleaded for God to hear and answer his questioning quickly so Ty didn't have to wonder and wait. And as I stood brushing my teeth, I heard this.
"Do you have to worry about defending the fact that you are Tyler's mother? Then you don't need to worry about defending the truth that I AM God. I AM not hurt by a child's honest seeking. I AM not scared by his searching. Trust that I AM able to handle this."
As much as I would love to be the one with the answers to my children's questions, I'm glad I know the One who does. As much as I would love to point out chapter and verse and affirm that God is really God, I'm thankful that He doesn't need me to. As much as I would love to sit up and talk with Tyler and answer His every question about God, I'm grateful I can't. If I could, what kind of god would God be?
So for now, I'll do what I'm called to do. Teach Tyler about God. Show him daily the pictures God left of Himself for us to read. And the rest? I guess I should leave that up to the Professional. He knows what He's doing. Yep, that sounds like a good idea.