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Jesus Christ

Helping Children See Their Invisible God

“Mom, why can’t I see God the way I see you and other real people?”

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Gazing out the car window always seems to prompt deep or funny questions for kids. My 6-year-old wants an answer to everything that is happening in the world. Where does rain come from? Why do humans salivate? Can she have blue hair? (The answer to the third question was no.)

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Seeing God…What a wonderful question! Believing in a God we don’t see is not only a dilemma for children, but something even adults can struggle with every day.

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Jesus said: “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are
those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (John 20:29)

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How do we help children wrestle through the fact that they can’t see God? What does the Bible teach us about this? Here are some suggestions for navigating this conversation:

  • God always makes a way for us to know Him. The Bible tells us that Moses asked for the same thing. He wanted to see God.
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 “Moses responded, “Then show me your glorious presence.”’

The Lord replied, “I will make all my goodness pass before you, and I will call out my name, Yahweh, before you. For I will show mercy to anyone I choose, and I will show compassion to anyone I choose.  But you may not look directly at my face, for no one may see me and live.” The Lord continued, “Look, stand near me on this rock. As my glorious presence passes by, I will hide you in the crevice of the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by. Then I will remove my hand and let you see me from behind. But my face will not be seen.” (Exodus 33:18-23)

God told Moses that no one could look directly at Him and live.[1] Use this opportunity to explain to your child that God did not leave Moses wondering. God made a way for Moses to feel His glorious presence. He even protected Moses by covering him as He passed by.


 

 

Moses couldn’t look directly at God because of the sin in his life. When God created humans, they were perfect. But the first humans, Adam and Eve, disobeyed God. Sin and death came into the world. Every human born after them was no longer perfect. However, God had a plan to save people from their sins. And one day, God would be able to walk and talk with them face-to-face just as he did with Adam and Eve.

God made a way for Moses to see and feel Him. And He was preparing a way for all other humans to see him, too.

1) How did God make a way for Moses to see God? (God hid Moses in the crevice of a rock and covered him with His hand. He allowed Moses to see Him from behind.)

2) Why couldn’t Moses look directly at God? (Moses’ sinful nature prevented him from looking directly at the perfect, magnificent God.)

3) How did God protect Moses in this story? (He made a way for Moses to see Him without Moses dying.)


Have your child close their eyes and keep them closed. Hold a flashlight pointing toward the ceiling as you walk past them. Ask if they could sense your presence and if they saw the light emanating from the flashlight. Remind them that God’s brilliance is overwhelmingly more powerful.

This activity will work better in a darker room. But remember not to point the flashlight directly at your children’s eyes when you do this!

  • God took on human form. He came into the world as baby Jesus. It is through Jesus Christ that humans could see God again because Jesus is God.

“For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body.” (Colossians 2:9)

“Though he was God,
he did not think of equality with God
as something to cling to.
Instead, he gave up his divine privileges;
he took the humble position of a slave[2]
and was born as a human being.” (Philippians 2:6-7)

God’s desire is that we see Him. It is so important to God that we know Him that He came to earth in human form as the person of Jesus Christ.

God and Jesus are one.[3] The people walking on the earth about 2,000 years ago had the chance to see Jesus, and therefore also saw God. Jesus Christ is the visible image of the invisible God.[4]

Jesus’ full divine glory was hidden by human flesh. Jesus was 100% God and 100% human. Even though people were seeing Jesus face-to-face, many did not believe in Him. However, many did. And this is how the Church started.

Jesus willingly died on the cross for all the sins of the world. He rose from the dead and went to heaven to prepare a place for those who love and follow Him to be in God’s presence in the future.

Again, God made a way for people to see and feel Him.

1) Who is Jesus Christ? (Jesus Christ is God)

2) How long ago did Jesus Christ live on the earth? (Jesus lived on the earth about 2,000 years ago)

3) What did Jesus come to earth to do? (He came to die on the cross to save us from sin)

Ask your child to hold an ice pack or cubes with their bare hands. Acknowledge how the ice is cold and can feel like it’s burning. Then, take the cubes back and wrap them in a towel. Now, have your child hold it again. Explain to your child that Jesus was 100% God and 100% human. He chose to wrap himself in human form so we could know him.

Ice is the best for this activity—hot materials may burn yourself or your child!

  • In what ways can you help your child see God now?
  • We can see God in creation.

For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.” (Romans 1:20)

 

 

God created everything! All the things we can see around us—and even the things we can’t see. This is one of the ways God shows himself to us.

1) What have people seen since the creation of the world? (People have seen the earth and sky)

2) What did God create? (God created everything)

3) How can we see God in creation now? (We can see His power and divine nature through His beautiful creation)

Take a field trip into nature (the mountains, beach, or a local park). Or simply have your child look out a window up at the sky and clouds. Contemplate the Creator together and talk about how intricate creation is. No human hand could design the oceans, skies and mountains.

  • We can have God’s Spirit in us. Introduce your child to the Holy Spirit. If you’ve never talked with your child about who the third person of the Trinity is—this is the time.

“If you love me, obey my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate,[5]who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you.” (John 14:15-17)

1) How can we show God we love him? (We obey His commandments)

2) How does the Holy Spirit help us? (He leads us in all truth)

3) Why can’t the world recognize the Holy Spirit? (The world is not looking for Him so they can’t recognize Him)

God has made a way for us to experience Him in a very deep and personal way. When Jesus Christ ascended into heaven, He promised to send His Holy Spirit. And when we believe and receive Jesus Christ, God comes to live in us through the Holy Spirit.[6]

Explain to your child that the Holy Spirit of God lives in us to guide, empower, teach and help us to follow the Word of God, and He shows us our unique purpose here on this earth.

Through the Holy Spirit we know God is with us, always. Once again, God made a way for us to be with him – until we see Him face-to-face, once and for all.

Sit with your child. Ask if he/she would like to pray with you. Ask God to show Himself in a powerful to you and your child today, and for them to receive the guidance of the Holy Spirit in their lives.

  • We can see God through His Word. Jesus is the Word of God (the Bible). He is God. 

In the beginning the Word already existed.
The Word was with God,
and the Word was God.” John 1:1

Jesus has many names – one of them is the Word. Jesus is the Word of God. God speaks to us through His Word. The more we know and understand the Bible, the more we know and see God. This is why it’s important for us to learn the Bible and memorize what it says.

1) Why should should we read the Bible? (To know and see God)

2) Who is the Word of God? (Jesus is the Word of God)

3) How can we hear God speak to us? (Through His Word)


Set aside time each day for devotionals with your child. Read a Bible story together, ask questions and let God speak to you.

You can also find great resources at: http://onehope.net/feature/parentresources/

 

Related:

5 ways to help kids understand the Bible
Catechism
Teach kids to share faith using Bible App For Kids

 


[1] Exodus 33:20
[2] Servant
[3] John 10:30
[4] Colossians 1:15
[5] Comforter, Encourager or Counselor.
[6] 1 Corinthians 3:16

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Help kids go from complaining to content in 60 seconds

Recently my fashionista daughter was struggling with her outfit for church. And by “struggling” I mean complaining that she did not have shoes that “matched” her outfit.

My hippie child is morphing into a hipster daughter…the one who NEVER matches. She is fearless in what she wears–loud colors and prints mish-mashed together, even layered to achieve her intended look. So when she complained that she had no shoes to match her outfit, I was truly at a loss.

I cocked my head and looked at her hard for a minute. The issue wasn’t with the matching; the “issue” was something deeper.

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We lined up the four pairs of summer shoes she had to choose from and picked the “least awful” pair–some plain black flip-flops.

Then we sat down and had a chat:

me: Look at your flip flops. Can you think of three things about them that you are thankful for?

her: <haughtily> I have shoes.

me: Yes. I can’t tell you how many children I’ve seen in poorer countries who don’t have a single pair of shoes, much less four pairs to choose from. What else?

her: <a tiny bit less haughtily>They aren’t broken yet.

me: That is something to be thankful for. Do you know that in some places, you are not allowed to go to school unless you have a uniform and shoes? Some kids want to go to school so much that they wear broken flip flops or shoes that are too small and hurt their feet. It’s a privilege to have shoes that are not broken and fit you perfectly. Can you think of one more thing?

her: <begrudgingly> They are comfortable.

me: Who gave you those shoes?

her: God.

me: How do you think it made God feel that you complained about the good shoes He gave you?

her: Sad.

I was proud that she had come to a solid conclusion and could see the effect of her actions. By turning situations where we are prone to complain into a time to practice observing at least three ways we can be thankful instead, we are teaching our children to live out Ephesians 5:20:

“Always give thanks to God the Father for everything. Give thanks to him in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

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Jenna has been in love with words all her life—especially God’s Word that helped her realize her need for a Savior in the first grade. She loves using words to help advance the message of OneHope. She is married to Dan and has 4 children ages 8, 10, 11 & 13.