When Your Six Year Old Teaches Theology
This Easter was quiet. Holidays for pastors tend to take unique shape, full of preparation and often extra ministry time. It has taken just about every moment of the last twelve years of ministry life to learn to compare our family less and adapt and build special moments into these busy seasons.
We sat around the table Sunday afternoon. Asher and Kai were talking about the story of the resurrection. They were playing with the resurrection eggs they were given this Easter. We were getting ready to hunt for Easter eggs, mainly filled with old gold fish crackers, but this didn’t seem to make them any less excited. They had been looking forward to the egg hunt for the last few weeks. As we wrapped up the resurrection eggs and were heading outside, Asher turned to us and said, “Jesus and the resurrection is what matters most at Easter. Everything else is just stuff.”
His words stopped me in my tracks. He continued on like as though he had made a comment about his favorite snack or game, not like he had just made a mic drop kind of comment. The truth of those words ministered comfort and conviction to my heart.
Just two days earlier, I was driving in the van, when I received news about funding we thought we had for the adoption that fell through. Adoption is a stressor that is a constant weight. We cannot control much, if any of it, yet it creeps in to my mind all the time. Like white noise, the stress of the finances, political unknowns, paperwork, process struggles are always in the background. Moments of disappointment like financing or setbacks break through the white noise and bring what’s normally just a background noise to the forefront of my mind. This time I found myself in tears. How will all of this work out?
Easter is about Jesus and His resurrection. Of course, I know that’s true. But there are moments when the white noise of anxiety or the bigger moments of disappointment feel more real than Jesus and His resurrection. All of this other stuff grows and my view of Jesus diminishes. All of these adoption details or the needs of our kids or the challenges of life is all just stuff. The very power that raised Jesus from the dead is alive in me and reigning over everything that causes anxiety and stress. My head says that Jesus matters most, but my heart often says, all of this stuff matters more.
Asher may not be talking about the same kind of stuff at six years old as I am in my mid-thirties, but the message is the same. Jesus and His resurrection matter most, in every way. Everything else, really is just stuff, under the power of our resurrected Savior.
Later in the day, we were praying at dinner. Asher prayed, “thank you that you don’t live in the tomb.” For the second time in a few hours, his words overwhelmed me. How often do I live as though Jesus is in the tomb? Maybe the more accurate picture is that I live as though Jesus lives, but lives inside the tomb. I live as though Jesus is confined by the details of our circumstances. The reality is, Jesus was resurrected. He beat death. He overcame the tomb. He reigns supreme over every detail, small and large. He is confined by no one or no thing. He has the power to accomplish His purpose for our good and for His glory. Not only is Jesus not dead. Jesus does not live the tomb.
I thank God that He sees the white noise that rumbles in my heart. He sees the big moments of distress and disappointment. He deserves my worship. He deserves my obedience, even when all of the stuff in my life tempts me to be overwhelmed rather than in awe of who Jesus is. His life, death and resurrection change my life today and for all of eternity. Where does the stuff in your life overshadow Jesus? Turn to Him. Let His light shine into the shadows of the stuff that overwhelms you today. Then turn to Him again in five minutes or tomorrow or next week when the stuff of life overshadows Jesus again. Jesus is alive and He’s not just living in a tomb.
Just to be clear. Our kids aren’t typically dropping theological truth bombs. They’re just kids, one moment making a profound statement they probably don’t even understand and the next fighting over Easter eggs with stale goldfish inside. What a God we serve, who uses the thoughts and words of our kids to deepen our love and reorient our awe of Him.