Bible Stories in the Dark

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At night we cuddle under the soft, pink blanket in the dark. As I lay beside you to help you fall asleep, you often chatter ceaselessly about all thing things on your two-year-old mind. Sometimes you pat my growing belly and tell your brother, “Baby, it’s dark out that window.” You are learning the difference between morning time and nighttime.  You call yourself, “Roo” (which is really just how you say “you” when you mean “me”). Sometimes you see me reading my Bible on the Kindle in the dark and want me to read to you. So I do.

We might read the story of Creation or the Fall. When I ask you what a serpent is, you tell me that it is a blue snake thanks to the illustrations in your storybook Bible. Often we read about Jesus calming the storm because you can be very scared of storms. We read about the birth of Jesus and the story of Noah (during which you wait impatiently for the rainbow, calling that story “the rainbow one”). You’re really fascinated with the story of Baby Moses right now.

And each time I read, I’m forced to focus again on these stories in a new way. What words can I use that you will understand? How much should I explain to you? Which stories do I choose?

We focus on the word “baby” in the story of Jesus’ birth. We focus on “rainbow” and “rain” in the story of Noah. We talk about listening to God when I read to you from Genesis 3, and I try to emphasize that the snake was lying, a concept I’m not sure you can understand yet.

This all started one night when I was reading Romans. You asked me to read it aloud. You said with surprise in your voice, “There’s God in there!” And I said, “Yes, Baby, the Bible is about God.” You said you wanted to see God and when I finally explained that we see God when we die, you said forcefully, “Roo want to die.” I didn’t know what to say.

How do I explain that when we trust God, dying is good but also that I want you here with me now? Will you, too, one day be scared to die? Do I want that, or do I want your childlike faith that just wants to see God who you know sees you all the time, who you asked to live in your heart one night?

And then there are bigger questions. I tell you that Jesus’ voice can stop the wind and the waves, but then you tell me to ask God to make the thunder stop. What do I say when we ask him and it doesn’t stop? How do I explain the now-and-not-yet tension of the Gospel, that Jesus came to fix everything but He’s not done yet?

And maybe I don’t have to because you never ask me why God doesn’t stop the storm when we ask him to. You never seem frustrated with God or confused. You just seem to find your peace in the asking.

You don’t ask questions like, “Why did God even plant the tree in the midst of the Garden?” or “If God can feed the multitude, why are people starving?” Yours is a simple, childlike faith.

I don’t know how I’ll eventually answer these harder questions, or if you’ll ask them. I do know that I admire how you want us to talk to God about all the little things in your life. I admire how you want to keep hearing the Bible read though you can’t understand so much of it. I admire how you repeat the phrases after me and how you repeatedly ask to see God.

In a recent sermon, our pastor talked about how Jesus endured all pain, all the agony of separation from God so we would gain everything. The pastor highlighted the rhetorical question in Romans 8 that says, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” He reminded us that nothing and no one can be successfully against us if God is for us. And this is what I think you grasp in a trusting way–that God sees everything, that he loves you, that he is with us. As humbling as it is, I think a lot of this stems from your current trust in us as your parents.

Your faith is childlike, but not childish. Still, you will have to learn and grow. You will ask hard questions and wonder about things you once took for granted. You will realize that we, your parents, are not God and are not totally in control. We will fail and mess up. But God won’t. And if God is for you, nothing can be against you. I hope you will never lose your desire to hear these stories, your enthusiasm to talk to God about everything, and your longing to see the God who made you.

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