Recently, our family of six went to the life celebrations of a man from our church who died. At the Visitation with the family, we were giving condolences and the boys were mostly clinging to our legs. There was also "the man in the box" at the front of the room. This gave us an opportunity to explain to our young children what happens at a funeral and why. Brian and I made the decision to bring all of the children to both the visitation and the graveside ceremony. This was a big step for our children, and they were obviously uncomfortable, yet curious. As Christian parents, we have never shied away from talking about death. But, they do hear things about zombies and monsters and the like. Our 6-year old explained to us that a coffin was where vampires go to sleep. Ummm....
On Sunday morning, I was sitting next to my four year old, Sebastian, during the beginning of the Worship Service at church. He leaned to me and whispered, "Where is the man?" He was asking about "the man in the box" from the day before. I whispered to him that he was now with God, the Father. Sebastian then asked, "Where is God?" I paused for a moment, and then whispered "He is here with us, all around us." It was a profound question from an innocent and curious child.
Was I right about where God is? I was not able to have a long conversation with my son, whose attention span is that of any other 4-year-old. I also did not want to be wrong. But, we were in the middle of our sanctuary, worshiping our God with songs of praise, along with fellow believers. Not everyone in that room may have been believers, but I knew more than a few truly are! Right away, the verses that comes to mind are:
For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the middle of them.
I also believe that the Holy Spirit is with me, which means He was there with us. He guides me, comforts me, and protects me.
15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, 17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.
“If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.
Sebastian had been looking forward to the funeral since we had told him that he would be going to it. It may sound odd, but this kid didn't want to pass up a new experience! And, he thought there would be food involved. What he didn't know was that he gave his mommy plenty to think about. I can not get into the theological aspects (not my expertise), but only what I have read in the Scriptures, and from my own testimony. I believe that Jesus Christ died for me, that He is God, and so is the Father and the Holy Spirit. I was baptized in water, but I am a new creation because of the Holy Spirit.
I think children are closer to God than adults, and understand spiritual things more than we give them credit. My son knew "that man" was going to be okay. He did not doubt my words when I said "God is here with us", but I think the Holy Spirit was guiding him to make me say it, and mean it. God can use ANYONE. I need to acknowledge God more than I do. As practical as I want to be, God puts me in my place every single day. I am nothing without Him. I love only because He first loved me. I do not ever want to live a moment without my God.
Thank you, Lord, for loving me! Thank you, Lord, for making me stop and really think about what I was doing there in the Sanctuary that day. I am not just the person who sets up for the livestream feed of the worship service. I am one of your worshipers, and I will praise your Name everyday! Be with me always! Amen