While I cannot completely remember what her older brother Dutch said in response (though I remember chuckling), the question came during Bible story time right before bedtime. This may have been the first inquiry on the nature of what we were reading. Other questions have shown curiosity about the characters on the page, and our son is beginning to get excited about the complexity of the Trinity (how can Jesus be God and God the Father be God too?).
The question Heidi asked made my heart leap, and I knew Kari would have a terrific answer. (Mostly because she embodies doctrine and godliness like no one else I know.) We recognize a response is not so much about saying the exactly correct thing once; it’s about showing why and how we believe what we believe, every day.
So, “Why God haffa die?” Kari responded that God gave His Son Jesus to rescue us and forgive us from all the naughty things we do. (Do you do naughty things?) God wants to be with us, but we ran away and disobey Him. We chose to leave Him; Jesus came to bring us back. Jesus did this to bring us back to Him, so we can be with God.
It’s starting to click in her mind. Heidi then smiled, joyfully exclaiming,
“Now He happy!”
We read in Isaiah 53:4-11 (written seven centuries before Jesus’ time):
4 Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.
5 But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.
6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth;
like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth.
8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away;
and as for his generation, who considered that he was cut off out of the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people?
9 And they made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth.
10 Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him; he has put him to grief;
when his soul makes an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.
11 Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see9 and be satisfied;
by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities.
In the months and years to come we hope her understanding of Jesus’ redemptive work will grow. We aim to teach her how Jesus and His Gospel are the Theory of Everything.
For a toddler the life and death of Jesus can be confounding yet simple all at once. Her simple childlike faith can grow into mature, full faith as she daily trusts in God’s promises and delights in His Good News.
So glad God did not stay dead. Christ is risen!