God Still Makes Sense

Our family has had to deal with significant loss over the last few months. My grandmother passed away in June and we lost the family dog a few weeks ago. My grandmother lived quite a distance away, but my kids were quite close to her. Our dog was 13 years old and was dearly loved by the whole family.

I have sought to redeem these difficult situations by turning them into teachable moments for my kids. I distinctly remember losing my grandfather as a young child and being confused with my own feelings of loss and the strange realization that this is just the way things are. My four children range from age 2-11. So their response to these experiences have varied according to their understanding.

We were walking back to the house after burying our dog and conducting his “service”, each in varying degrees of distress. I, being the strong and stable leader of the family, was blubbering like a little baby. My 5 year old son was on my shoulders and struggling not to cry himself. After a few moments of silence, he offered; “I wish dogs could live forever”, at which time I replied; “me too buddy”. A few seconds later he added; “Yeah, but God still makes sense”. Of course that led to both of us crying like little babies. My wife and I made sure to write the exchange down when we returned home. I haven’t been able to stop thinking about my son’s statement, which was obviously much wiser than he could possibly appreciate.

I am always seeking to find ways to challenge the faith of my kids as they learn and grow about who they are in the world and who they are in Christ. I am not so arrogant to assume that I can add any new material to a subject with already exhaustive resources from countless parenting gurus and Christian family experts. However, I can’t help but wonder if we sometimes tend to oversimplify key aspects of the Christian faith when we are “training up our kids in the way they should go”.

I know I personally fall into the trap of parenting like my faith is only for harnessing the young and bringing comfort to the old. It is like my parenting theme song is from that old tune from Sunday school; “Oh, be careful little eyes what you see, oh be careful little eyes what you see, for the Father up above is looking down in love, so be careful little eyes what you see….” It is a wonder we all aren’t transfixed with paranoia!

The unfortunate reality is our kids are being taught by our culture the idea of God really doesn’t make sense at all. Relativistic thinking casts off authority like an annoying gnat. Science is striving to teach our kids that God isn’t necessary. Our co-dependent Hollywood idols tell our kids that selfish love is the only thing we really need. Religion is made out to be a construct of the human mind used only to provide a false hope and to stave off despair.

It seems to me that we feed the monster when we revert to using faith only as a way to modify behavior. I know I can do a better job of applying the gospel to all areas of our kids lives. Showing them that God really does make the most sense out of their reality. If we can show them He makes sense in their gain, and that He also makes sense in their loss, then He will certainly make sense in the everything in-between.

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