Friday, April 14, 2017

A Child's Perspective of Good Friday

My most favorite part of my job is leading a short, age-appropriate chapel time for 3-5 year old little people on Tuesdays.

As a weekday preschool director of a sizable program, this is the only consistent interaction I have with our small people.

Watching their bright, big eyes light up with delight when they learn something new about Jesus never, ever, gets old. Don't get me wrong I love their smiles and hugs. I look forward to their high-fives and thumbs ups. But when they hang on the words of the Bible story, anxiously awaiting how Jesus will save the day - there is simply nothing like it.

Many of the stories have become stale to most of us that don't remember the first time we heard about the little man who climbed the tree or the baby in the manger. But these stories are fresh and fascinating to their little ears.

This Tuesday, I found myself trying to explain how Good Friday was "good"  to my preschool friends.

Jesus, completely innocent of any wrong, was brutally beaten and horrifically murdered in the most gruesome of manners. Yet, it was good so very good.

We teach these little people "good" and "bad" and "right" and "wrong" when show them how to take turns and redirect their behavior when they make a "poor" choice hitting a friend out of frustration. Yet, here I am telling them that Jesus died and it was good.

Thankfully, most of them have never experienced death. How do you explain someone dying to a ignorant little one? They have no frame of reference. The concept of killing this hero is something they cannot begin to wrap their minds around . . . especially when I quickly follow with the news of his resurrection.....

In their innocence, they play and imagine games that often include acting out scenes where someone "dies." The child closes their eyes, less than a minute passes. Their eyes pop open. They spring to their feet and carry on.

Is that what they think happened on Good Friday? I mean, how can death, any death, but especially the death of Jesus, be good? I struggled with how to explain the gravity of what happened countered with the inexplicable hope that Jesus' death births. Most preschoolers are not even aware of their personal sin yet.... How do I simply explain these truths to a child?

I found myself wrestling with this question over the next two days.

Then, last night, I read a blog from The author, David Mathis, highlighted many reasons that this singular day was the worst day of history. Never had man been so evil, so corrupt, so bad. He ended the post with simply stating that Good Friday was good, because God made it so. What man intended for the worst kind evil, God meant for the best good. Mathis points out that Joseph's words in the end of Genesis were fulfilled in the most ultimate way.

As I pondered the blog and the kids' unquestionable acceptance of Jesus' death and resurrection, I realized that it isn't about the children's inability to understand or their ignorance of life experience that enables them to see Good Friday as being "good." It is all about their childlike faith.

God said that this horrible Friday is good, so it is. God declares the events of the day good, so they are.

For them, at their ages, that is enough. God said so, so it is.

Yes, there are depths of understanding that I pray for these kids to one day understand. I actively pray that these basic seeds of faith that we are planting will be watered by the Holy Spirit and one day produce the harvest of their salvation.

The more life I experience and the more truth I understand deepens the meaning of this day. My worship is heightened and I choose to draw closer to my Savior on Good Friday.

Yet, I am a little jealous of my little friends' simple faith. No questioning - Did He really die?
Did He have to die? Could it really be true? If He didn't die this way and IF He did really rise, then have a based my whole life on a lie?

These children have no cynicism.

They may have stood by a casket gazing at the effects of death in the still, empty shell of a beloved grandparent. But they can easily live in the acceptance that they will one day see this dear one again, alive and more full of life than they have ever experienced, because of Good Friday.

Let's face it, this kind of faith is harder for us as adults. But this HOPE is why God declared this day "Good." I don't have to have it all figured out. I can choose to believe just because He said it. That is my focus this Easter season.

Lord, please give me a childlike faith this Easter week. Make my worship and acceptance of this wonderful truth just a pure as a child's perspective of Good Friday.

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