The things my three-year-old talks about in the car, at the table, playing with her little people. They amaze me. This morning in the car on the way to preschool it went something like this:
"You know mom, Adam and Eve ate the apple."
It always comes out of nowhere like this. We aren't talking about God or the bible, but it's stirring in her mind and whatever is in her mind comes out of her mouth. Really. Six hours to Santa Cruz and six hours back, the last two summer trips, this child has talked the entire time.
Every day is like this with her. Sometimes I ask her to pause, but most of the time I'm quite enthralled with the thoughts coming out of her mind.
So back to Adam and Eve.
She says, "God told them not to, but they did."
"Yes and do you know what that meant?" I asked her.
"No" she replies.
"No" she replies.
I tell her about how there was no evil or bad things and the world was perfect. But because they ate the apple and went against what God said, now there was sin in the world.
"People call it the Fall." I tell her. "Kind of like making a really bad choice."
It's the first bad choice that allowed there to be a world where we make bad choices, where we're not listening to God. That's called free-will. I catch myself in trying not to use big "Christian-ese" lingo so that I can put it in words she'll understand.
But the great news is that one day when Jesus comes back all will be made better. Evil will be gone forever and all will be good again.
I say, "You know when you're in Heaven there will be no more sadness, no more pain,
"Yes" she agrees, "And Jesus is there and he is big like you mommy." "Even bigger," I tell her.
And you know what mom, "He'll play with me."
"Yes, I love that idea Audrey. He'll play with you and hug you and listen to you."
"Jesus likes it when we talk to him."
"You're right. He does. He wants to hear from you,
he wants you to tell him whatever is on your mind."
"And in Heaven will I have toys and a room?"
"I know Jesus said he is preparing a place for you
and that in His Father's house there are many rooms.
Isn't that neat.
I'm not sure about the toys, but maybe."
"I would like to have toys in Heaven" she adds.
"I do know the bible says we'll have jobs in Heaven."
"Oh jobs are good right, just like here in the real world we have jobs."
Yes we do. But I think maybe this is just the earth, the real world is Heaven.
"Yes, because we'll be in Heaven forever and ever with Jesus."
Do you know how long it has taken me to realize the joy of forever and ever in Heaven? I've been a believer all my life and fell in love with Jesus at the age of six. But until just a few years ago (and I was always really embarrassed to admit this) I was afraid of Heaven. The thought of eternity floating around like a spirit just plain scared me. I thought I'd have nothing to do. That's why hearing I'd have a job comforted me. Maybe for some that isn't a comfort, but I thought what if I get bored? What will it feel like? What if I want to have a change of scenery? I mean it's eternity after all?
But this is why I've learned it's so important to read the bible and study scripture. I didn't start studying the scriptures until the year my son was born, eight-and-a-half years ago. I actually didn't know I was supposed to, I had never learned that you read the bible other than in church.
Little by little I've come to realize I have a room there, I have a job there, the streets are golden and the walls covered with precious stones, there will be singing and music, there will be feasts and celebrations. All things will be made new, we will become like Jesus in a way we can't here on earth because of our sin nature. All things past will not even be remembered. That means all those things that cause earthly heartache, they won't even exist in our memories. But as we faithfully endure trials, we are receiving glory that far outweighs these troubles in Heaven. Amen to that.
This makes it feel like the magnificent home it is. The place of comfort and solace it is. But even better than the human mind can imagine. I'm trying to wrap my finite images around something that isn't of this world. I am still embarrassed that I spent years feeling afraid of it.
But praise God all of my kids see it as the exciting, glorious, 'happily ever after' it is meant to be. It is our forever home of perfect peace. This is also why Jesus tells us to live seeking the things of heaven, not of this earth while we're here. Those will last forever, everything here is fleeting.
When these conversations happen I always want to remember the details. I wish I had a recorder handy. Today I thought hey, I do have that little record function on my phone.
As I tried fumbling at a stop light to turn it on she says,
"Hey, do you think I have more silly bands than Jackson? They're the best thing ever."
How quickly the subject changes from the ponderings of Heaven to silly bands.
That's what happens when you're with a three-year-old theologian.
I'm just lucky to be along for the ride, learning from her as much as she is learning from me.