My youngest who is 9 years old and in 4th grade had far too much homework last night. It was Monday, she was tired. She was discouraged. Math is not her friend. But we got through it all just in time for a story and bed. Normally, she heads out the door with her daddy – since he’s the head administrator at her school. She likes to hang out in his office before heading to class. But she was so tired and I was off work today – so I promised her I would drive her in later so she could sleep an extra half hour.
I am so glad I drove her today! It was one of those precious conversations that you just want to keep pondering in hopes it is seared into your memory forever. Her sweet little voice called out to me as we were driving along as she asked me one of her many, deep spiritual questions (car rides are her favorite time/place for such). She said something like, “So, Mom, if I sinned just a little bit, but then I die right after that, am I still going to get to go to Heaven with Jesus?” (can I just drive off the side of the road? – this is only a 10 minute commute after all!) As I pondered that one – she came up with another. “And if I sin, can the devil take me away from Jesus?” I should have had another cup of coffee before leaving….
I reached over and turned the radio off and said a silent, quick prayer up to God for wisdom. And I can tell you – though I do not claim to be a theologian or an expert on God’s Word – that God was there in the middle of that conversation as we talked about what the Bible says about forgiveness, sin and God’s mercy and grace. We talked about what it says in 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
We talked about the passage in Hebrews 9 (worth reading the whole chapter, btw!) where Christ’s sacrifice is laid out for us and how He only had to die ONCE for all of our sins. Hebrews 9:27-28 reads, “And just as each person is destined to die once and after that comes judgment, so also Christ died once for all time as a sacrifice to take away the sins of many people. He will come again, not to deal with our sins, but to bring salvation to all who are eagerly waiting for him.” (emphasis mine).
I told her His death paid for our sins – all of them, for all time and though it’s important to live according to His ways, we will continue to sin, but we can live knowing that His blood is enough to cover every one them. Even if we die and there’s something in our hearts that is sinful – I trust that His promise in the verse from Hebrews above is true, “He will come again NOT to deal with our sins, but to bring salvation to all who are eagerly waiting for Him.”
Well, that was a lot for her to take in and I could tell she wasn’t quite sure. Then I thought of an illustration I heard many, many years ago that really seemed to help her. I told her that God’s love and forgiveness is sort of like an umbrella. When you believe in Christ and accept His free offer of salvation He covers you like an umbrella. His Holy Spirit comes to dwell inside and leads you into His truth as you trust Him. As you go through life living under His umbrella of protection and forgiveness you are His and nothing can take you away from Him. NOTHING. We shared these wonderful promises from the book of John and one from Romans.
John 10: 28-29, “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them away from me, for my Father has given them to me, and he is more powerful than anyone else. No one can snatch them from the Father’s hand.”
Romans 8:38-39, “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
I just wanted to encourage her and help her to know she’s forgiven. She’s known and loved by God. The devil cannot snatch her away because she belongs to the One who died in her place – and yours and mine. Because she’s accepted Christ as her savior and is eagerly waiting for Him, she’s under His umbrella of forgiveness and protection. And I am one deeply grateful Mommy to know that my kids are seeking His truth and asking hard questions – even at the tender age of nine.
I can’t wait for this afternoon’s carpool!