As I was chatting with a friend the other day, she mentioned that her elementary aged son had confessed that he was having trouble believing in God. He needed to be able to see this guy that they call God. He wanted to have a tangible acknowledgment that he was following the right God. What if he was following the wrong God? What if he goes to heaven and the God of some other religion is the one he should have been following?
When my friend declared her sorrow and frustration about how to handle this, I had to dive into it immediately. I started searching for information on how to teach a child that God does exist. I mean this boy’s questions were valid and overwhelmingly common questions. The fact that he voiced them to his mom only made me more proud of him. He was searching for the truth.
I found two resources which I will be using quotes from and I cannot tell you how important it is to read them.
–Christmas is not your Birthday by Mike Slaughter
–Prove It! God by Amy Welborn
Amy Welborn does an amazing job allowing you to understand the existence of God cannot be 100% proven. Yes, that is right I said CANNOT. BUT, she points out that God does leave his imprints – kind of like DNA. You can see His existence everywhere, but just like a lot of things in life – to prove it without a doubt is next to impossible. Here are a few of her points:
-There is always a designer for a design. Everything has a designer. We may not know exactly who that designer is, but EVERYTHING has an origin to it. It doesn’t just appear from no where.She uses a great example of a rock design. When you go in your yard and you see that rocks have been placed on the ground to form a word, you immediately think – who did that? In your mind, you know that those rocks could not have coincidentally been laid like that by the wind or rain – you know someone is behind it.
-The existence of every single thing is dependent.
-Nothing causes itself to exist
-You cannot always prove your love ones exist and do you really care to? We don’t go around proving that our mother and father existed because in order for us to be born – they had to exist. Proof is irrelevant and frankly, a little silly.
-Try to prove that love exists – impossible. There are many things in this world that we cannot prove without a doubt, but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist.
-In a powerful passage from her book, Amy Welborn says this, “Jesus lived. No one doubts that. He did amazing things and affected people deeply. He talked about God, God’s love and forgiveness, and even hinted that He had a special, unique relationship with God. He was executed, and three days later, His followers and friends saw Him alive again…After the apostles saw Jesus risen, and after Pentecost, every one of them gave his life to spreading the good news. Every one of the apostles spent the rest of his life talking about this. They left everything, sacrificed all they had known, and most died with the name of Jesus on their lips. People don’t do this for a lie.”
So what does this all mean? It means that God does exist, the bible is not made up (historians for thousands of years have proven its authenticity), and God does speak to us through his Word (go to John in the bible – Jesus is the Word).
I want to dive into this Jesus thing a little more. Mostly, because I find Jesus to be amazing and also because Jesus is our only human connection to God. This is where the tangible existed, yet so many turned their backs on Him.
I always find it fascinating the way that God presented himself to the world. Jesus was born in a manger, on a night where people were traveling to pay their taxes. It was a busy, tiring, frustrating day. People were not paying attention to this King that was coming to them. Their eyes were on something else. Their goals were driven by society. They missed the birth of a King because they were engulfed in their problems and exhaustion. Sound familiar?
So many of us turn our eyes toward material possessions at Christmas (the birthday of Christ). So many of us take our eyes off the truth. We direct our attention toward gifts, food and festivities. No wonder our kids are so confused about who this God is. No wonder they doubt. A couple of years ago, my family started to refocus our attention toward the bigger picture of Christmas. We turned our backs on society’s view and turned our eyes back toward the manger; the lowly, dirty barn where our King was born: the voice of God.
Crazy right? Well, it helped all of us have a better perspective on God. We began to open our eyes to what Christmas is about. No more did our day become about the festivities, it became about the birth of Jesus. He is our ONLY way to hear God’s voice, and yet we turn our backs on it each and every year.
Mike Slaughter in his book, Christmas is Not Your Birthday, says “Too often, however we view God like Santa Claus – a genie in a bottle, here to fulfill three wishes. All we have to do is name it and claim it, believe it and receive it! We have created this Santa Claus Jesus in our own image, a golden-calf messiah who promises to fulfill all our earthly wants and wishes…Think about the way we describe Santa Claus: He sees you when you’re sleeping…He knows if you’ve been bad or good. Our popular notions of Santa Claus reflect the way we have reduced God to a mythical watchdog who judges our niceness or naughtiness, and metes our rewards and punishments accordingly.”
Ouch. I do that for sure! A little scary to think about what we have reduced God to, right?
Going back to my friend’s son and his questions, it is hard to find the right God in today’s world. It is hard to dig through all the false belief’s that our society has made God out to be. The only way to get to know God is through his Word (the bible) and through prayer. Reducing God to be Santa Claus-like is wrong and quite frankly confusing when we hang that God on a cross to die.
Prayer is not asking for God to do things for us either. It is silent time, just listening to what God is asking us to do. Prayer is a conversation with God – not just one sided. As adults, we have trouble with this, so imagine what it is like for a kid. Imagine what it is like to find God through prayer?
Finding God in daily life and pointing it out to your kids is so vital to their faith life. Spending time with your child reading the bible, praying aloud, and finding the God moments in life can change your child’s attitude on God. As parents, we have to know our faith before we can teach it to our kids. We have to be in prayer.
Knowing God and following his Will inevitably will create struggles and trials. It won’t be all bells and whistles when we choose to listen and heed God’s call. Our kids need to know that.
Using Santa Claus like images to explain God are wrong and can be hurtful to those smart little kiddos that really want to understand and know this guy we keep calling God. Share the real God with them – through the words of Jesus Christ.
God is real. He isn’t 100% provable, but his existence is evident if we just follow the clues. In order to follow the clues, you must first seek out his Word through prayer.