My youngest daughter is petite. For much of her life, she wasn't even on the growth chart. We've spent a lot of years picking her up so she can see what all the rest of us can see without trying. She really dislikes large crowds because she can't see over or through them. For a long time, she couldn't see over the edge of the car door to see out the window, even in her car seat. We would point something out to the girls, and we would hear "Where? I can't see it!" It was really important to her to be able to see what we were seeing so she could believe what we were saying.
For some kids, believing that God is there and He cares about them is tough because they can't see Him. It's our job to help our kids understand that God loves them and they can trust Him even though they can't see Him. Hebrews 11:1 tells us "Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see."
Kids, especially young kids, are concrete creatures. They like to be able to see that what you are telling them is true. Since we can't see God, we need to show our children the evidence of God so that they can place their faith in Him. For without faith, they will never have a relationship with the God of the universe. Ephesians 2:8-9 says "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast." Faith brings us to a saving relationship with God. It is God's gift to us, and we can do nothing to earn it.
So, how do we bring God from the realm of faith into the world of the concrete for our kids?
- Point out to your child all the things that he does that require faith. We can't see what holds up an airplane, but we have faith that it will fly. We can't always see what holds our furniture together, but we have faith that it will hold us up when we sit in it. When your kids go someplace, they can't see you, but they have faith that you will come back and get them.
- Point out the evidence of God to your child. Everything from the rocks to the rainbow scream of God's existence. The beautiful variety of plants and animals show evidence of a Creator.
- Help your child remember times when she has seen God work. For older kids, have them keep a journal of times in their lives when they have seen God work. It can be simple things, like when they prayed to do well in their soccer game and did. Or it can be big things, like if they prayed not to be afraid during a tough time and God gave them peace. In the Old Testament, the Jewish people built altars every time God did something amazing in their lives. It helped them remember the things God had done for them. Keeping a journal, helps your child create altars of their own. When things get tough, and they don't see evidence of God in a situation, they can go back to their journal and see the evidence of all the times God has shown up in their lives. If you have younger kids, keep a family journal of the way God works in your family's life.
- This activity requires at least two people. Blindfold your child. Have another member of your family give your child directions to walk through an obstacle course. When they have made it through the course, talk with your child about how hard it was to have faith in the person giving the directions because they couldn't see that person or where they were going. Explain that sometimes having faith in God is like that. Sometimes we can't see where we are going, and we can't see God. We simply have to have faith that He is there and that He is leading us safely to the other side of whatever trouble we are facing.
Faith is the central component of the Christian walk. The earlier we can help our children trust God even though they can't see Him, the easier it will be for them to continue to place their faith in God as they get older.