I was laying with Caroline last night as I often do when I put her to bed, (this is where we have some of the most interesting conversations) and this is the question she asked me:
“Why do we have to die?”
Whoa. This one really made me have to stop and think! After a long pause while I thought about how on earth to answer this question in terms a preschooler can understand, I decided to start at the beginning. I explained that God made the world a perfect place, and the first people were perfect and did not have to die. But instead of going God’s way and being obedient to his one rule, they sinned and went their own way and disobeyed God, and this is when death entered the world.
At this point Caroline interrupted to remind me that she does not want to go God’s way but she wants to go her way. I realized that I have not adequately explained to her why it is desirable to go God’s way and not our own way. I have told her that is what we are supposed to do, but that is the law without grace. There is no Gospel in that. No wonder she doesn’t want to go God’s way.
So I thought another minute and started in again. I told her that God loves us and wants good things for us and that only by going God’s way can we have the good things he has for us. As this was rolling off my tongue, I realized that while that is all true, I was still missing the Gospel message, that without the message of Christ and His grace, I was just describing works righteousness. So I paused again and took a moment to regroup and prepare what to say next. Then I started to explain about Jesus and his death on the cross to pay for our sins so we can live in heaven after our earthly death if we repent and believe in him.
While I was talking, I looked over and saw her eyelids start to flutter closed. In another second, her breathing grew heavy and she was sound asleep. I guess I missed my window of opportunity.