The experience of God is certainly unique to each individual. Some speak of God as largely inside of us. Others say God is watching us from a distance. Even in religious families who share a theology, each family member walks on his or her own daily path in relationship to God.
How can I show children some possible avenues for experiencing God?
Perhaps some of the ideas below will spark your thinking, fitting them into your understanding of God, if necessary.
- When difficult or frightening events have occurred in my life, I have explained to the child how I sensed God was present with me.
- I am able to discuss with the child the varied avenues or ways God has used to communicate with me and/or others.
- I am in touch with God’s presence in the world and see evidence of God working behind the scenes. I am able to engage in conversations with the child about “coincidences.”
- When the child expresses disappointment or doubt, I respond with empathy. I encourage him or her to take those feelings directly to God, emphasizing that God is not put off by them.
One father told his kids how he found God communicating with him (see #2 above):
Now I am not someone who claims to hear from God regularly and you know I’m not particularly religious. But there is one time in my life—when the two of you were just a few years old—that I am convinced God was speaking to me.
I was about to go for a snowmobile ride and in all the many times I have gone snowmobiling I have never used a helmet. But this particular day I had this strong sense of a voice telling me to put on a helmet. It wasn’t an audible voice, but it was just as insistent as if it were.
I tried to ignore it, but it wouldn’t go away: “Put on a helmet.” I didn’t even own a helmet. After a couple of hours, I finally gave up and went out to go buy a helmet. I wore it that day and got into a terrible accident where I broke both legs, one arm, and a lot of ribs. The doctor said I would definitely have died if not for the helmet.
I believe that was God’s way of trying to keep me alive because he knew your mother would be dying of cancer just a few years later.
Our task is to give a firm footing to a child’s experience of God.
Tweetable: 4 ideas to guide your conversation when a child talks about sensing or experiencing God. Click to Tweet