Recently I did a Bible study with a group of kids. Present were 4 children, ages 1, 3, 8, and 10. We began with a prayer, then read aloud All My Children Shall Be Taught By Me! (God) by Jane E. Pierce. I asked the kids to listen carefully and have some questions ready at the end of the story. It turns out that kids do listen and they are more perceptive than one who isn’t around kids all the time (me) might think.
Jane’s book introduces people to God, and invites them to begin relationship with Him. God assures His children that He will talk to them if they believe, which is true. He also assures them that He is love and will never say anything hurtful or unkind. So the 10 year old asks: “How do we know if its God talking to us or just our conscience?” This is sort of a broad question, but I answered by saying this, in essence: “That’s why we have the Bible. It is full of stories about God and how He dealt with His people throughout history. The things He did and said reveal His character or nature. To know which voice it is, you need to know God’s character, so study the Bible.” I remembered that on page 29 of All My Children… God says, “When you love I am giving it to you to give to others. I do everything in love. I am love. Since we, you and I, are One, you are love too!” 1 Corinthians 13 is a description of God’s love. The best description of God’s love there ever could be is Jesus. When man, God’s perfect creation became corrupt, God donned a body, took upon Himself all of nasty humanity (separateness from God),and killed it forever by His death on the cross. This put man back where He was before, in perfect union and oneness with God and his fellow man. All the time Jesus was on the earth, He was showing forth God’s nature, healing, delivering, restoring, loving, even before His Passion. Does anything say “I love you” more than that?
Jesus asked the Father for this right before His crucifixion: “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on Me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them and thou in me, that they may be perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou has sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me. Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee: but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me. And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.” –John 17: 20-26
There is a long list of scriptures that talk about the love and nature of God: 1John 3,4, 5; James 3:17 “But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.”, The book of Colossians, Galatians, Ephesians etc.
Another kid asked: “If we are the branches and God is the trunk, can the branches break off the trunk? Good question. I told it this way: If you decided you wanted to leave your mom and dad’s house and be part of a different family it would be very hurtful to your parents, and you might feel totally separated and different, but you really could not be part of a different family. That made sense, but my brain wanted to go into detail, so I began telling of Abraham and how God picked Him out, and told Him He would be a great nation, even though Sarah was barren. How Abraham believed God and indeed God formed the nation of Israel from that promise. How they did not receive Jesus, so the rest of the world was invited in (all part of God’s great plan from the beginning) and that we were “grafted in”, Ephesians, 2:11-22. They nodded their heads in understanding, but I quickly went back to my first statement, realizing it to be the best answer. There will be many opportunities for the background later, plus I could learn something from their simplicity and candid responses.