Sometimes when I’m reading a good book, I flip to the back and read the end before all the middle parts.
Sometimes…I just have to know.
My Jeffrey must feel this way sometimes too. He must have wanted to know how it all ended last night, in fact.
When I checked on my boy after my shower, he was in bed reading his Bible. I slipped on by, whispering a prayer for the word to light a flame. The house was quiet and I was looking forward to catching up with some of my bloggy friends. I went downstairs and fired up my laptop. I stopped by to see Billy and was heading over to Maureen’s when he came down the stairs. I glanced up from my screen as he quietly sat down beside me.
What’s wrong? I asked, still looking at the screen. Why are you out of bed?
Mom? He asked. Is God perfect?
One look at his face and I knew this wasn’t going to be a short conversation. I closed the computer and looked at my son.
Why, yes, He is. He’s the only one who is.
He nodded and looked down and for the first time I realized he was fighting tears.
Why do you ask?
Well, he said, I was reading the book of Revelation (Uh-Oh) and it says that there will be a new heaven and a new earth.
And it says that God will dwell with men and the new Jerusalem will come down from heaven.
But it says we have to be pure to get in—that liars and murders and thieves won’t be allowed in the gate.
I nodded, waiting. His lip began to quiver.
But…sometimes I lie.
At these words, he broke down a little and leaned into my shoulder to hide his face.
Oh, honey, I put my arms around him. Oh, honey, we all make mistakes.
We’re not pure, he said, tears streaming.
Oh, honey, Someone died to make us pure. Jesus took our punishment. When we gave our lives to him, he washed us clean. As long as you are following Jesus and trying to live like him, you’re okay.
He looked up with big eyes, not sure.
Revelation is kind of scary.
Well, I struggled for the right thing to say. Maybe it’s not the best place to start. It’s a hard book to understand. A lot of scholars disagree about what some of it means. Maybe you should read that one when you are a little older. And with a teacher or something.
He started to cry again and asked me about the signs of the end of the world. How will we know, he wanted to know, how will we know when it’s the end?
We talked about knowing what the Bible says, about the signs and the antichrist and even talked about Hitler. We looked him up on Wikipedia.
But none of that made him feel better. He kept squeezing in to me the more we talked.
There’s something I want to show you, I said, getting my Bible. I turned to Romans 10.
…if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
You belong to Jesus, I said. As long as you follow him you will be ok. He knows your heart.
We talked about the thief who was crucified beside Jesus—the one who told Jesus to remember him when he came into his kingdom.
He must have done bad things, I said, to be crucified. But you know what Jesus told him?
You will be with me in paradise.
Because he believed that Jesus is Lord, he was saved.
Jeffrey’s eyes brightened and he knew it was past bedtime.
Do you want to snuggle?
Upstairs, I spooned into him and I could tell how tears had tendered his heart.
I love you, mommy, he kept telling me.
And then he sighed heavily and I knew he was about to give in to sleep.
God sure is powerful, he whispered to the wall. It sure would be easy to be scared of him.
But you know what else God is?
I breathed in his ear: God is love.
That’s one reason in infinity to love him.
The Bible says He loved us so much, he gave his one and only son for us.
He nodded again.
God does more for us than he should—more than we deserve.
That’s called grace, honey. That’s grace.
But he was quiet.
**Bonnie asks me How is God calling you to be more confident, care-free–to trust–or be bold?
One way, Bonnie, is through my children. Just when my trust is hanging by a thin thread—just when I begin to question again…he sends these divine appointments. To watch His word penetrate the heart of an 11 year old boy…to know that hey, I could seriously mess this up…and then watch as He gives the words. It is amazing. It sets me on fire for Him. Over and over again. And that’s pretty cool. Or should I say…hot?
**This is also written for Emily’s Imperfect Prose. God knows. God knows just how imperfect my words are.