How do I tell her?
She sits on my lap, and the darkness mingles with the glow of the lamp. We turn the pages of her storybook Bible. Tears flood my eyes as I think of her innocence. Of her simultaneous depravity. Of what God did for me…for her.
“Dark, out there?” she questions as she points to the night sky painted on the two pages.
We look together at the pages, telling of the arrest of Jesus in the garden.
“Men, crying?” she asks.
“No, they aren’t crying,” and I smile at her observance.
“Yes, those were bad men. They wanted to hurt Jesus.”
Already, I sense her grief over this. Daniel always does the bedtime routine, including reading the Bible. Why is this the story we were on the night Daniel had to be away for a meeting?
My fingers lift the page…I see it. The cruelty placed upon Jesus–the cruelty deserved by me…by my daughter. I think of her innocence, and how seeing the cruelty or others in pain deeply concerns her. I see the picture of Mary weeping as she watched her Son, dying. As a mother, now that oft-neglected detail of the story twists and turns at my heart.
Warm fingers pressed between the pages, and I quickly tell her that Jesus had to die. Because…because we deserved to die. I skip the pages depicting His torture…though they be devoid of a literal depiction.
A month has now passed since we read the story, since I wrote the above thoughts. We finished reading through her new Bible the second time, and are now on the third time reading through it. Already, her understanding has increased, and her vocabulary grows every day. She recognizes many of the stories in her The Big Picture Story Bible
just by seeing the pictures. Of course, it’s a little confusing when half of your family members and friends have names from the stories and places we read. But she’s starting to understand that, too.
Now it’s almost Easter. Resurrection Sunday. How can you understand resurrection when you don’t really even understand death…
Then I realize…I don’t really even understand, either. The finer points of theology, the depth of pain my Savior felt, death, eternity… They’re all just concepts to me for now, just as they are for her. I’m a bit further along in my understanding, yet now I still can’t understand in full.
Her mind doesn’t need to know see graphic photos of what Jesus might have suffered to know that He was treated badly, or to hear of the darkest sins to know she does wrong. After all, it is like little children that the Father bids us come.
Last night at dinner, she randomly pointed at the sky and said, “Jesus, up there? In the sky?” We praised her for her remembrance. She proceeded to ask if Jesus was coming. We told her he was, but we didn’t know when. Time is just now becoming a concept, but eternity isn’t. But then, I’m not sure I can fathom that, either. Immediately, she held up her toy and said, “Share Noble doggie a (with) Jesus?” We smiled at her eagerness to see Him, her eagerness to share with Him.
And we rejoice how God is using a child’s understanding of God to grow our own understanding of God. We’re starting to get the big picture by seeing a lot of little pictures..