"Daddy, if you believe in Jesus you will never die. Right, Daddy?" said Cori at dinner last night.
Now, Cori is seven years old, and safe to say the sweetest seven year old you have ever spoken with. Her little voice is a lilting, melodious bird song, even when she is speaking the most ordinary words. So when she speaks extraordinary words such as the ones she uttered last night, it is all you do to keep your heart from splitting right down the middle. And when she said, "Right, Daddy?" she looked at me with her enormous, round, blue eyes and blinked a couple of times. What is a preacher-dad to do?
Thankfully, Mom took over.
"That's right, Cori." She was very sure of herself.
"What about Annie?" countered our daughter, "She died." (Annie was our dog, by the way. She died a couple of years ago.)
Cori paused and thought a second before grinning and asking, "Did Annie believe in Jesus?"
Cori is smart. She is, you could say, damn smart! She knew that we had told her, at the occasion of Annie's demise, that she was in heaven with God now. But here she was with the intriguing notion that one had to believe in Jesus in order to enter into eternal bliss in the arms of our Lord. Surely it is not within a dog's capacity to believe in Jesus, is it? Is it even in our capacity to believe in Jesus enough to be assured of entry into paradise? Isn't that the Question of questions here - the one that has divided Christians one from another for untold centuries?
But wouldn't you know, Cori has an answer. After she allowed my wife and I to fumble around with trite platitudes for a while, she simply said, "Prob'ly 'cause she was with us, and we believe in Jesus, that was enough."
Maybe the question is not what you believe but with whom you are in relationship? Yeah, that's prob'ly it. Thanks, Cori.
Grace and Peace,