So when my six year old, my daughter, asks me about salvation recently… I wonder from what? This should happen later, not at six.
Her sin right now is fighting with her brother or not putting her clothes away when I’ve asked her to… Not yet… She doesn’t know the dark places I’ve been, where salvation is warranted and welcomed. So we have a tough conversation and it goes something like this…
Faith-Child: Does God know me?
Mom: Of course He knows you, He formed you in my womb (Psalm 139:13) and He had you in mind before He formed the world (Ephesians 1:4)
Faith-Child: Do I know him? Like when I was 2 or 3 did I know him?
Mom: Yes you knew him then, but like learning to walk or eat you had to have someone teach you. That’s why you have your teachers at school and church, Mommy and Daddy. Everyone knows there is something more, lots of people search for what it missing. When we learn about Jesus and God, we learn that He is what we’re looking for.
Faith-Child: If I sin He doesn’t know me.
Inside my head I am thinking: Are we having this conversation now? Who
put it on her heart that she doesn’t know God and he doesn’t know her? Surely she is too young to have this burden on her heart.
Mom: Faith-Child, if you sin, he still knows you – He loves the sinners and that is why he sent his son to die on the cross. (Romans 5:8)
Faith-Child: Oh... If I get baptized, will I have to speak with a pastor?
Inside my head I am thinking: She couldn’t possibly be ready to speak with a pastor…. I am emailing her church teachers and leaders tonight… I don’t know about all this… not yet…)
Mom: Yes you will, Dad and I will be there too but you will have to tell him why you want to be baptized and what it means to you. Baptism only tells everyone what you believe. First you have to ask God to forgive you for the things you do wrong, that you know that Jesus was sent to earth to grow up and die for our sins; that by accepting that you do and will do wrong you need Jesus.
Mom: Faith-Child, is that something you are ready to do?
Faith-Child: I am thinking about it mom.
Inside my head I am thinking --- Oh good, we’re just thinking on it… thinking on it is good.
One Sunday a couple weeks back her Sunday school teacher approaches me and says to me, “I think Faith-Child is really close to accepting Christ”. “She told me today (on her own) that she prayed the prayer last night where she spoke to God and said sorry for her sins”. “I am going to be working with her going forward to see how ready she is.”
As I am telling him of the above conversation, tears welling up in my eyes, we are joined by her other teacher. I think we’re all in awe. I thank them both for serving my daughter and taking-care that she learns these things correctly and comes to all of this on her own.
Salvation is a choice, a very important choice. Her dad and I have always tried to remain careful in her teaching, making mention to her teachers and others that we want her to come to this in her own time with her own understanding and not just verbatim speak.
In fact, one Sunday several months to a year ago our church pastor provided all in the congregation piece of paper. On it he asked us to write a prayer request, something we have an expectation for answer. Mine is still tucked in my bible, guarded safely… prayed for nightly and shared with few --- specifically my mom, my husband and my best friend.
The white piece of paper, tucked neatly into the beginning of the Gospels – Matthew - says this “My kids would come, on their own to Christ”. My daughter came… and with love and a twinkle in her eye she explained to her dad and I, better than could why we need Jesus.
“Jesus died because I sin. Jesus came so that he could talk to God for me. Jesus died for me.”
And in my doubting spirit - In my, could my daughter really need to do this now??? In my, could a 6 year old know what she was talking about???
I heard --- Faith like a child. (Matthew 18: 2-6); I get it!!! We don’t need to wait for that dark place, the place we don’t think we can be reached. Faith like a child is honest, easy and without the burden that my heart carries. Of course my child is ready and, if I am honest, it’s me that wasn’t ready for this.
I am also asking for prayers, as we navigate this journey that we all do the right thing by this sweet, innocent and trusting child of God.