Monday, February 14, 2011

He can’t see Jesus….

Hi, all…

I’m writing specifically to get some advice on dealing with a spiritual issue with Seth. I’m hoping maybe some of you with older children have seen this before and have some tips for addressing it…

Seth has become increasingly frustrated lately because he can’t see Jesus. We talk about Jesus all the time, sing about him, learn about him at home, church, and Bible study… and he wants to know why Jesus can’t come to his house, talk to him, eat dinner with us, etc. We explain that Jesus is here, but he is invisible. After he lived on earth and died on the cross, he went up to heaven, and he doesn’t have a body anymore, etc.

This isn’t satisfying him. He cried today in the car, saying that “Jesus isn’t at my house.” I told him that he probably won’t be able to see Jesus until he goes to heaven. Well, that led to him saying that he wants to go to heaven and visit Jesus. Arrghh! Don’t really want to get into talking about death on top of this right now…

I feel for him. I have the same desire that he does. I want Jesus to show up in the flesh and talk to me, too. Hearing his longing makes me realize my own longing. I hate living by faith and not by sight as much as my 4-year-old. But I have to teach him how to live without sight…

Any tips on how to do that effectively? Help….


Shannon said...

I've used the analogy of the wind with our kids, which has worked pretty well at least up to this point. I just explain that you can't SEE the wind, but you can see and feel its effects. We can "feel" Jesus when our conscience is telling us something is wrong, or when we suddenly have an idea of something nice to do for someone when we see trees moving because the wind is pushing them.

I'm curious to see what other people have to say. Kids have HARD questions, and very understandable spiritual frustrations. I SO resonated with this post!

Kevin & Catrin Joyner said...

Ellen, good question from your little thinker!
First, Seth is right—Jesus does have a body, even now (Luke 24:50, Phil. 3:20). He has a glorified, resurrected body, and those who are in Christ will have one like His at the second coming.
Secondly, Jesus came to earth to accomplish the Father’s will: to redeem a people for Himself, to bring light to the people who walked in great darkness (not just the Jews, but also the Gentiles). (John 1:10-14) That work was finished at the cross and in the resurrection. Christ satisfied God’s divine justice at His death, making atonement for His people. He conquered the power of hell at His resurrection. (Generally, Phil 2:8-11) That work is now complete. His work now is building His church (Matt 16:16cf), reigning in glory and awaiting His own return at the Second Coming (Matt. 26:64).
While we can’t see Jesus, He has given us the Holy Spirit as a deposit, a guarantee that He will return to us (2 Cor. 5:5-8; Eph. 1:13, 14) and as a helper and comforter. (John 15:7)
As Jesus told Thomas, he believed because he saw, but blessed are those who believe without seeing. (John 20:29). We are called blessed by Jesus because we are given faith to believe without sight. That’s an awesome thing!
As for walking by faith, I think we should be careful not to denigrate it because it is a gift from God. (Eph. 2:8). Every good and perfect gift is from above (James 1:17), so faith falls into that category of good gifts from God.
God has spoken to us in the past by the prophets, and He spoke finally to us in His Son (Heb. 1:1-2) and so the Scriptures are given to us as God’s speaking with us now (2 Tim. 3:16); we need nothing else.
People have written weighty tomes on each point mentioned here, but I know that the theology can be taught to even very young children using simple words.
I polled my 3 older children (4, 6, 9) on “where is Jesus now”, and “why can’t you see Jesus.” They all answered that He is in heaven, and that they will see Him either at their death or at the Second Coming. So, I think that the theology is not beyond their limited understandings—childlike (not childish) faith is confident faith.
Be glad to chat more on this if you'd like.

Momma B. said...

I think we used the wind to describe God with us, The Holy Spirit, as well. Much like Shannon. But we also just tell them like it is. They get it, enough. Sometimes even better than I.
Judson and I were talking the other day about how great Daddy was and how well he takes care of us...Judson said, "No, Mommy. It's God that does that."
He was right, and I told him so. I think Seth needs to understand things, right? So just tell him how you understand it and eventually will hit on the exact words that make sense to him.

I will pray that God speaks wisdom to you heart and and understand to Seth's. Love ya!

Perry and Amanda said...

There is more to come...If God is incharge I only have to listen to God not you and Can I hide from God to name a few. I have really been pondering this one. Andrew and Aaron don't seem to be trouble by this one. And with all the other questions I wondered why. This is the only thing I can think of and maybe it might help. Both of boys have people in their life they can no longer see ie foster parents yet we have pictures of them and talk about them and they know they are real. They also know they may not see them again on earth. So I am wondering is there a person in Seth life he only see rarely or only knows from picture but is real. To help him think about.

Brandy @ Afterthoughts said...

I think you received some great answers here--especially using the wind as an analogy. That's awesome!

Questions like these are why we started catechizing our kids (using a children's catechism, not a Big Huge catechism for preteens) way younger than I'd even anticipated. We started with our oldest when he was 4.

I found that it gave us a language with which to discuss things like this. It's come in handy more times that I can count. The catechisms really are designed to answer basic questions of the faith, plus they have references in them (usually, depending on which one you use) so that you can read the Scriptures together when you learn a new question and answer.

Just an idea.

I have had issues like this with two 4-year-olds so far (my current one, not yet). I think they are just stepping their understanding of everything up a notch, and sometimes they get frustrated when they are trying to grasp a concept. My 4yo and 5yo argue about the Trinity almost DAILY. I usually stay silent unless there is outright heresy because I know they are just trying to wrap their little minds around some big things.

Kevin & Catrin Joyner said...

Excellent comment on using the catechism. They are never too young to start! We use First Catechism (by Great Commissions Publications) for the 6, 4, and 2 y/o and The Westminster Shorter Catechism for our 9 y/o.

Terri said...

When Isaac talks about wanting to go to heaven to be with Jesus, I encourage that. Really, it's more that we should be thinking like them than that they should be thinking like us. We ought to be longing to be in heaven where we can see him!

We're doing a simple catechism too. It's a PCA catechism, so we're skipping a couple of the questions where our theology diverges, but 98% of it is great.

I don't know if this helps, but we also talk about the difference between physical eyes and spiritual eyes. Some things we see with our physical eyes, and some things we see with our spiritual eyes because the Holy Spirit shows them to us. One day we will see with both our spiritual eyes and our physical eyes, and that will be amazing!

I think the most basic approach for Seth would be to encourage him to long for heaven, and to study the Word to know Jesus better here and now, and seek the Holy Spirit so his spiritual eyes will be enlightened.

Ellen said...

Thanks for all your suggestions, guys. I've tried the wind analogy, tentatively, but I'm going back to it with more gusto. I will just do the best I can and trust that he'll understand as he grows... as with so many other things. Kids at this age are so literal. I love it, and it's a challenge all at the same time. =)