By Cathryn Buse
Helping Our Kids to See God… When They Can’t Actually SEE Him
The other night, as I was tucking my five-year-old son into bed, I was encouraging him to pray. He asked Jesus into his heart nearly a year ago and has such a passion for studying the Bible, but he still struggles with the concept of prayer. And I have to admit, this has been a more difficult thing to teach than I originally thought it would be. I want him to know he can pray to God any time about anything but I don’t want him to think God is up there to grant all of our wishes. We are to take everything to God in prayer, but we are to ask according to the Lord’s will. That is often hard for adults to understand, so it is definitely a difficult concept for a five-year-old to grasp. He has moments where his prayer requests are so sweet and thoughtful, like when he would pray for his Grandmama when she was battling leukemia. But then, sometimes he’s asking to win a t-ball game. But honestly, is that so different from our prayers at times?
On this particular night, he was insisting that we continue to read more of his Bible, even though it was already way past bedtime. I wanted to use this as a good, teachable moment. I told him that we don’t just read our Bible at bedtime (which he knew already), but I made the connection to prayer as well. I said that just like we can read the Bible at any time and in any place, we can also pray to God at any time and in any place. He thought on that for a minute. Then he said, “But mommy, I can’t see God.”
An Age Old Question
And now, even as a five-year-old, he touched on something that most adults struggle with, particularly those who refuse to believe in a God at all. We can’t see God. We can’t touch Him. So how do we know He’s real? It’s a question I address in the very first chapter of my book, Teaching Others to Defend Christianity. Most often, when people demand proof that God exists, they are demanding physical proof where we can touch, weigh, and measure God. There’s this idea that only when we physically see God can we safely declare, “There God is!”
But there are lots of things that exist that we can’t touch, weigh, and measure. So, I asked my son, “Can you see the wind?” No. “Can you see love?” No. “Can you see gravity?” No. Yet we are very confident that those things exist! The evidence we have for the existence of those things is found in other ways: love can be shown; gravity can be experienced; sadness can be expressed; intelligence can be demonstrated. The cumulative evidence of the effects of these things gives us confidence that they do exist. Thus, their invisibility does not make them any less real.
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