Thursday, March 10, 2005

The Four-Year-Old's Faith

Last night, my son Wesley and I had a conversation about praying. Wes is four. (I have written about him before.) In his bed, after getting pj's on, brushing teeth, and having our bedtime stories, Wes and I kind of snuggled in together to talk. I told him a little story, just something silly I made up. Then, after a small quiet time, I asked, "Wes, you want to say a prayer?"

"No," was his immediate reply.

"Why not?"

"I don't know anything to say." (It sounded like "anyfing" when he said it.)

"Well, Wes, you don't have to say anything special, just listen for what God has to say to you." This was excellent theology, and I was sure that it would impact him deeply. After all, I had been to seminary and knew all about stuff like this.

"But I never heard God before." (It sounded like "heared.")

Okay, this was another issue, but I was equipped. "You might not listen with your ears, but you can listen with your heart."

Giving me a look that said, Yeah, yeah, I have heard that one before and I'm not buying it, Wesley said, "I never heared him with my heart, either."

(Long pause.)

What do you say to that? It is a four-year-old's first crisis of faith. How do you say something to a four-year-old in that moment that will make any kind of impression, some kind of difference in his relationship with God? I couldn't think of anything to say, so I hugged him.

Maybe that was enough.

Hugging him, I said "Wes, you know how you get up every morning and come downstairs all sleepy and stuff, and you climb up into Mommy's lap and snuggle with her for a little bit until you wake up all the way? You know how that feels? Maybe that is kind of like what God feels like."

Wesley didn't say anything. He was asleep.

Grace and Peace,
Andy B.

P.S. My friend Roger has a great story about something his daughter taught him about God. Check it out:

1 comment:

Jo Beth said...

Hey Andy, that story is great! I remember then 4-year-old Michaela saying from the back seat of our car once..."Mommy, I don't want Jesus in my heart!" to which I nearly pulled over and orchestrated communion on the spot. "Why?" I managed to respond. "Because I want to play with him at my house!"

The ultimate compliment for Jesus -- a playdate at her house!