She’s only 7, but we’re reading some of the hard stories as we gather under her quilt at the close of each day.
We dive into Living Words, and we welcome the questions these stories raise, for we know what can happen when we don’t ask them. Silent questions breed doubt.
So we ask them here, together.
I glance at her, with that Bible open on her lap, and I see threads of myself behind those hazel eyes — eyes that look like mine. And I know the pain of searing doubt that can creep up and fester between questions that I never had the nerve to ask at her age. Or when I was a teenager. Or even when I was 22.
Would people see my doubting heart between the lines of my questions? So I didn’t ask the questions, burying them under pride instead.
And that’s why we ask them here, now, with the Old Testament flopped open on our laps. It’s easier to ask the questions when you have someone right beside you.
We dig into the stories, and go beyond the nicely packaged Sunday-school versions. Her dad and I know she’s ready for this. And so we jump into these gold-lined pages together. We welcome the questions.
The words feel like fists, sometimes. But we let the darkness of the words shade in true portraits of our faith’s heroes. Even our heroes were tarnished. They murdered, and stole, and got drunk, and said dumb things, and called down deadly curses on people who called them names.
She looks up at me with those hazel eyes, open wide in awe at new revelations: “But I thought Abraham was a nice guy,” she asks. (Genesis 21:14-16)
And why would God really think it’s OK to kill Goliath? she asks. Isn’t all murder wrong?
And are people just robots, or do we get to decide? And why did God let Adam and Eve eat that apple? And why was there so much killing in the Bible, and why is there so much killing today?
And why ….
And why ….
And why ….
And even though she’s ready to hear it, I’m left wondering whether I’m equipped to answer any of it. I stutter with weak answers that come in more questions: “I don’t know, Lydia. What do you think?”
So we walk through the hard passages together, embracing the questions and our own human frailty.
It was in those questions, I told her, where I met the Lord.
“That’s how we know the stories are real, Lydia,” I said, “These aren’t fairy tales. The characters in the Bible are real and weak and broken. They make mistakes, just like we do.”
We sink deeper still into the Word. We try to find peace in the pieces — knowing God fits it all together with wood and nails on Calvary.
And some of it …. well, some of it we tuck it away in the .
This morning, I found a treasure in The Questions — and in a child’s answers.
These questions were answered easily, without help from Mama. She’d answered them on her own, without me to direct her answers.
That’s what I found this morning, when I opened Lydia’s Bible to take photographs.
Answers and hope, highlighted in green.
Her study Bible asks: “Does Jesus love me?”
She responded: YES.
The Bible asked: “Will Jesus ever stop loving me?”
She answered: NO!