My week started off with a laugh. Laurie was telling me about four-year-old Matthew on Sunday night. She said they were in church as the offering plate went by that morning and Matthew turned to her and asked, “How come God gets all the money, and we don’t?” Apparently he didn’t think it was quite fair that he couldn’t just help himself to a little of the loot as it passed right under his nose!
I am old enough to remember Art Linkletter and his long-running shows House Party and People Are Funny which ran from the fifties until the seventies. He loved to interview children and was best known for getting kids to blurt out the family secrets—or whatever was the first thing that came to their minds. After one boy revealed that his father was a policeman who arrested lots of burglars, Mr. Linkletter asked if his mother ever worried about the risks. “Nah, she thinks it’s great,” he answered. “He brings home rings and bracelets and jewelry almost every week.”
Linkletter especially seemed to enjoy leading children on to share their thoughts about God, the Bible and Sunday School:
Linkletter: “What did we learn from that story [of Jesus turning water into wine]?”
Girl: “The more wine we get, the better the wedding…”
Linkletter: “Oh I bet God was mad [about Adam and Eve eating the forbidden fruit].”
Boy: “Yeah, then God sent them to hell, and they transferred onto, um, Los Angeles!”
Linkletter: “What did He [God] do with Eve [to punish her]? Made her what?”
Boy: “A housewife!”
Art Linkletter went on to publish many of his conversations with kids in two books, Kids Say the Darndest Things and Kids Still Say the Darndest Things. Others went on to follow in Linkletter’s footsteps. Bill Cosby had a television program in the late nineties named the same thing and based on the premise of Linkletter’s earlier shows. “Kids say the darndest things,” in fact, has become an American catchphrase. I am sure we’ve all said about our own little ones at one time or another!
It was those conversations about God that particularly interested and often delighted me. What children don’t know about God doesn’t faze them in the least. They’ll try to figure it out using their childish logic and wild imaginations. A kindergarten teacher was observing her classroom of children while they were drawing. She would occasionally walk around to see each child’s work. As she got to one little girl who was working diligently, she asked what the drawing was.
The girl replied, “I’m drawing God.”
The teacher paused and said, “But no one knows what God looks like.”
Without missing a beat or looking up from her drawing, the girl replied, “They will in a minute.”
And if they can’t figure it out or imagine it, well, they’ll just ask God Himself! A collection of “kid-isms” went around a while back called “Letters to God.” Here’s what the kids had to say to the Lord:
- Dear God, In Sunday School they told us what You do. Who does it when You are on vacation? — Jane
- Dear God, I think about You sometimes even when I’m not praying. — Elliot
- Dear God, Did You really mean “do unto others as they do unto you?” Because if you did, then I’m going to fix my brother. — Darla
- Dear God, I didn’t think orange went with purple until I saw the sunset You made on Tuesday. — Margret
- Dear God, I read the Bible. What does “begat” mean? Nobody will tell me. — Love, Allison
- Dear God, Are you really invisible or is that a trick? — Lucy
- Dear God, Is it true my father won’t get in Heaven if he uses his bowling words in the house? — Anita
- Dear God, Did you mean for the giraffe to look like that or was it an accident? — Norma
- Dear God, Instead of letting people die and having to make new ones, why don’t You just keep the ones You have now? — Jane
- Dear God, Who draws the lines around countries? — Nan
- Dear God, The bad people laughed at Noah — “You made an ark on dry land you fool”. But he was smart, he stuck with You. That’s what I would do. — Eddie
- Dear God, I went to this wedding and they kissed right in church. Is that okay? — Neil
- Dear God, What does it mean You are a Jealous God? I thought You had everything. — Jane
- Dear God, Thank You for the baby brother, but what I prayed for was a puppy. — Joyce
- Dear God, Why is Sunday School on Sunday? I thought it was supposed to be our day of rest. — Tom L.
- Dear God, Please send me a pony. I never asked for anything before, You can look it up. — Bruce
- Dear God, My brother is a rat. You should give him a tail. Ha ha. — Danny
- Dear God, Maybe Cain and Abel would not kill each other so much if they had their own rooms. It works with my brother. — Larry
- Dear God, I want to be just like my Daddy when I get big but not with so much hair all over. — Sam
- Dear God, You don’t have to worry about me. I always look both ways. — Dean
- Dear God, I bet it is very hard for You to love all of everybody in the whole world. There are only 4 people in our family and I can never do it. — Nan
- Dear God, Of all the people who work for You, I like Noah and David the best. — Rob
- Dear God, My brother told me about being born but it doesn’t sound right. They’re just kidding, aren’t they? — Marsha
- Dear God, If You watch me in Church Sunday. I’ll show You my new shoes. — Mickey
- Dear God, I would like to live 900 years like the guy in the Bible. — Love, Chris
- Dear God, We read Thomas Edison made light. But in school they said You did it. So, I bet he stoled Your idea. — Sincerely, Donna
- Dear God, I do not think anybody could be a better God. Well, I just want You to know but I am not just saying that because You are God already. — Charles
We laugh at the innocence of children and their perceptions of God, but I wonder sometimes if He is laughing at our child-like perceptions of Him? Some people see Him as a benevolent, white-bearded “old man upstairs” who is so loving He could never send someone to hell. Others see Him as vengeful, threatening and judgmental, ready to stomp on us like little ants. Some see him as a personal God, others as a distant God who is only concerned with the world as a whole, while still others just think of Him as a “force” in the universe. Some believe it does not matter what you call Him—Jehovah, Allah, the Great Spirit—they’re all the same. Some think He is simply an exalted, perfect man; others think we can all be “gods;” still others think God is in everything, living or not. Some see Him as one race or another, or even as a female! Nothing makes my skin crawl quicker than a women’s-libber who refers to our Lord as “she.” There is nothing child-like about that. It is simply ignorant and blasphemous.
A child of God, of course, ought to know the Father better than most. His Word gives us a great deal of insight into His nature and personality; His attributes, spirituality, triunity; His work here on earth, in the universe and in Heaven—and so much more. In fact, the Bible tells us so much about God that I could not begin to dig into it in this simple blog. The study of God is called theology proper and it is wonderful! Some of what we see about God in the Scriptures we can understand, at least a little, for we are made in His image. Other things about Him are far beyond our comprehension.
The more we delve into His Word, however, the more we begin to see and understand about God—but even then, there is always more to learn. It was eye-opening to me last year to suddenly be enlightened by a new view of Christ as He is in Heaven right now and in the future. It was there all the time. I had read Revelations many times over the fifty-three years I have been a child of God, heard countless sermons on the subject, but somehow my comprehension was just opened in a new way and it profoundly impacted the way I think of Jesus, worship Him and pray.
Since we are trying to see God today through a child’s eyes, let’s just take a quick look at some of His traits that even a child can understand:
GOD CREATES – For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see His invisible qualities—His eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God. (Romans 1:20 NIV)
GOD IS TRUSTWORTHY – For the word of the Lord holds true, and we can trust everything He does. (Psalm 33:4 NIV)
GOD IS WISE – …Praise the name of God forever and ever, for he has all wisdom and power. (Daniel 2:20 NIV)
GOD IS GOOD – Everyone will share the story of your wonderful goodness; they will sing with joy about your righteousness. (Psalm 145:7 NIV)
GOD PROVIDES – He gives food to those who fear him; he always remembers his covenant. (Psalm 111:5 NIV) And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:19 NIV)
GOD IS GENEROUS – Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else? (Romans 8:32 NIV)
GOD IS MERCIFUL – But the Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him. (Daniel 9:9 NIV)
GOD IS COMPASSIONATE – So the Lord must wait for you to come to him so he can show you his love and compassion. (Isaiah 30:18 NIV)
GOD UNDERSTANDS – This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. (Hebrews 4:15 NIV)
GOD LOVES – He loves whatever is just and good; the unfailing love of the Lord fills the earth. (Psalm 33:5 NIV)
GOD FORGIVES – I am writing to you who are God’s children because your sins have been forgiven through Jesus. (I John 2:12 NIV)
GOD HEALS – He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases. (Psalm 103:3 NIV)
GOD SAVES – He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them. (Psalm 145:19 NIV) They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, along with everyone in your household.” (Acts 16:31 NIV)
GOD IS FAITHFUL AND JUST – He is the Rock; his deeds are perfect. Everything he does is just and fair. He is a faithful God who does no wrong; how just and upright he is! (Deuteronomy 32:4 NIV)
GOD IS UNCHANGING – God also bound himself with an oath, so that those who received the promise could be perfectly sure that he would never change his mind. (Hebrews 6:17 NIV)
GOD IS EVER PRESENT – God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. (Psalm 46:1 NIV)
GOD IS ETERNAL – But the LORD is the true God; he is the living God, the eternal King. When he is angry, the earth trembles; the nations cannot endure his wrath. (Jeremiah 10:10 NIV)
GOD IS HOLY – Exalt the LORD our God and worship at his holy mountain, for the LORD our God is holy. (Psalm 99:9 NIV)
Laurie’s answer to Matthew’s question on why God gets all the money was simply that God gives us “all the money” and we give some of it back to Him. I don’t think Matthew feels that he is getting his fair share, but ah well… Someday he will understand in part, at least, just how great God is and be thankful for Who and What God is and all that He does for us. We will never fully comprehend it, but I believe we will spend eternity learning more and more about Him—and still be continually amazed at His awesomeness!