Today I was once again tested by my five year old. While driving from one place to another today, we had 30 minutes in which to enjoy the scenery, play with car toys, and listen to nice music. Instead, I spent almost thirty minutes in theological discussion with my first born.
He began the conversation with, “Why is God going to win the battle if Satan is very strong too.” I can see why this is a valid question for a five year old. Their minds are filled with the battles between good and evil in cartoon characters and story books. In his world, the winner has laser fire guns, better kung fu moves, and bigger muscles.
To a five year old, the only concept of strength is the physical version touted on movies and by toy companies. All around him are examples of what makes you the best. And these examples don’t include character. The most fundamental strength we have is right inside of us and it’s the one we least talk about.
How am I to explain this in such literal terms that even my five year old can get it. But being myself, mired in this world of his, even if against my will. And, being that I am a mom and therefore forced to be resourceful, I began my explanation by telling him the truth, in this game no muscles are needed.
Immediately he had questions, most relating to Kung fu moves and fighting styles. I was quick to tell him that the final battle is one of love. This brought complete silence from the back seat. See, the battle has always been one of loyalty. And I know this, but to a five year old love and loyalty are automatic. Everyone in his world loves him and there has never been a time where that wasn’t so.
A five year old doesn’t understand that the original fight was about loss of love and loyalty. I’m not ready to tell my son that someday he’ll understand all to well that love can be lost and loyalty exchanged. I want him to be this hugely big hearted boy that loves me and his dad, and all those around him, so unconditionally that he can’t even understand it ever being less than wonderful.
So I used terms he could understand right now, “you love mom and dad a lot don’t you.” He nodded his sweet head. “And you love God too, right?” More nods. “Well, someday God is going to ask you to stand on his side and when you say yes, and everyone around you says yes, He will have won the battle.”
“Because the one thing Satan won’t have then is your heart, and all the other loving hearts around you. And bad guys never want to be with loving hearts, so Satan will run, and the battle will be won.”
And to my hard heart, my cynical heart, the cries from the back seat shouted by both my precious children, “I’m on God’s side,” was enough to melt that old, worn heart of mine and put me right there on the winning team, for good.