Ever since my father passed away last spring, L has been asking lots of questions about death. Why did Peepaw die? When will I die? Can we take our bodies with us? I've tried to answer his questions simply and straight-forwardly, although I nearly crushed his little heart when I told him that no, he wouldn't be able to take his stuffed penguin to Heaven with him. (I redeemed myself a bit when I told him that maybe there would be REAL penguins to play with instead.)
He usually asks these questions in typical 5-year-old fashion, matter-of-factly and with great curiosity rather than out of overt grief or sadness. Occasionally I will get a little glimpse of the sorrow he feels over losing his Peepaw. "Why didn't God heal Peepaw?" comes up occasionally. "Why can't Peepaw still be alive for me to see him when we go to America?" does too. The question, "Why do people have to join armies?" turned out to be a roundabout way of asking why his grandfather chose to serve in his country's military and go to Vietnam, where he was exposed to chemicals that likely led to the disease that killed him several decades later. I've tried my best to lead him through each question-and-answer session gently, always reminding him that God controls life and death, that He is always constant, that He always loves us no matter what.
A few days ago we were riding in the car on the way back from grocery shopping and L piped up in the backseat, "Mommy, I just can't wait to die and go to heaven!"
A little surprised, I answered, "And why is that, L?"
"Because I'm not scared," he said sweetly, strongly. "When I get there, I'm just going to run straight to God and jump in His arms. And I know He will be happy."
Tearing up a little, I responded, "How do you know, L?"
"Because," his little voice replied, "I know He loves me so, so much." He then went back to looking out the window and commenting on what he saw.
I was struck once again by the unassuming confidence of a child's faith. When it comes to matters of deeply-held belief, there is no room for doubt in a 5-year-old's heart. They KNOW things to be true, and that truth undergirds everything else.
Even in the midst of all of his curiosity and wonderings and why's, L never questions God or His goodness or His love for him. Never. My little guy has more faith than his mama some days.
Because I do question. When things get hard, really hard (as they often have recently), I find myself doubting God's goodness. His love for me. Most days, I probably wouldn't say with confidence that I "just can't wait to die and go to heaven." I probably wouldn't say, "I know He will be happy" to see me. Some days, in the middle of despair, I even doubt whether "He loves me so, so much."
And on those days, I'm thankful for His Word. I'm thankful that my soul knows what my heart doesn't always feel. I'm thankful for His reassuring promises.
But sometimes, perhaps I'm most thankful for that sweet little voice in the backseat reminding me--with the deepest of conviction--of His great love for us.