I was going through video footage in order to download skits and dramas from camp. While searching for what I needed, I came across the Christmas pageant from church, called "Angel Alert." Immediately, the kids heard the familiar tunes and sat down to watch.
At one point during the show, one of the lines says something about Lucifer. After all those practices of Abby hearing that line, it suddenly dawned on her that she had no idea who that was. So, she asked, "Who's Lucifer?"
Wow. What a fun can of worms to open.
I started with the simplest of explanations by saying, "Lucifer is Satan." As she continued to stare blankly at me, I realized I actually had to continue. I explained how Lucifer was a beautiful angel in Heaven who thought he knew better than God and how he was kicked out of Heaven and now lives in Hell. Which, of course, brought the question, "What's hell?"
Yippee-the conversation had to keep going.
I told her that Hell is where Satan lives and that it is a terrible place because God does not exist there. Then I reassured her that she did not need to worry about it because everyone who believes in Jesus goes to Heaven and never has to go to Hell. Of course my constantly thinking girl asked, "Then what happens to the people who do not believe in Jesus? Do they go to Hell?"
I really wish I could have sugar coated the truth, but there was nothing I could say but, "Yes, they do. But that is why it is important for us to always tell people about Jesus so they can go to Heaven, too."
That seemed to satisfy her for a moment and then she asked, "So, is Satan the serpent in the garden?" When I told her yes, she asked, "Then how did he look like a serpent? Was it a costume?"
Well, the fun continued. I explained how Satan is powerful, too, and can make himself look like other things. But, no matter how powerful he is, we know how everything will end-God will win the battle. She seemed happy with that and opened her Bible to the chapter about the Garden of Eden titled, "The terrible lie." She said, "Some of my other Bibles just say it was a serpent, but this one says it was Satan and that he was lying-I wonder why the other ones don't say that?"
I wonder why, too. Perhaps because they are written for children and do not want to scare them or confuse them. But, this particular Bible, "The Jesus Storybook Bible," writes the truth and always brings the reader back to the love story of Jesus. (Warning: Book plug here) Here is an excerpt from the first chapter...
"...The Bible isn't a book of rules, or a book of heroes. The Bible is most of all a Story. It's an adventure story about a young Hero who comes from a far country to win back his lost treasure. It's a love story about a brave Prince who leaves his palace, his throne-everything-to rescue the one he loves. It's like the most wonderful of fairy tales that has come true in real life! You see, the best thing about this Story is-it's true."
I used to dread the kinds of questions that Abby just asked, but after the year we have had, I have come to realize that every difficult situation presents an opportunity to show the gospel. Telling the kids that we lost their brother or sister last December was not something I wanted to do, but instead of them questioning God, they talked about how they will meet him or her in Heaven someday. Instead of Abby questioning the existence of a place called Hell, she is learning about the grace of God that rescues us from such a terrible place.
Everything that has happened since the beginning of time has been woven together by this amazing artist we call our Father. I am excited to see the pattern He has laid out for my children and how I can be a part of it.