My wife and I have taught children’s Sunday School classes for years. Sometimes these youngsters say the funniest things.
Once when teaching the story about Noah’s Ark, I decided to share extra details in the story about how long the Bible says it took Noah to build the ark and how Noah lived. One child got a bit confused by my extra detail sharing and went home to tell his father, “Daddy, my teacher said Noah was on the ark for 1,000 years. Is that right?”
Another child, when hearing about a “New Christian’s Class” that was meeting next door, said this: “Mr. Hobbs, I done that. I’m a new Christian too!” I replied, “You are?” He said with all sincerity and a smile, “Yes, I forgave Jesus a long time ago!”
In moments like these, I am reminded how it’s not just children that can get confused. We grown-ups can get confused, too, even with full access to God’s Word and solid Bible teaching.
Taking it one step further, if we’re honest, that last child’s comment– “I forgave Jesus too”—hits closer to home than we first think. Many people, Christians and non-Christians alike, walk around blaming God for all of their problems, acting like He’s the one that we need to forgive.
We often think along these lines. I am sick (so it’s God’s fault). I’m not doing well financially (God abandoned me). I’m having relationship issues (God put this difficult person in my life).
What’s amazing to consider, though, is how often the Bible shows that these kind of thoughts are common among God’s people.
Think of Job in his suffering, how he blamed not Satan but God for his great woes (“Though the Lord slay me…” Job 13:15). Recall all of the Psalms of lament (“Why, Lord, do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?” Psalm 10:1).
We see that God understands or perhaps even expects that we will experience anxiety and doubt, even anticipates that we may lash out at Him.
It’s in these moments that God wants us to pour out our hearts to Him, going deeper in our faith. Jesus said, “In this world you will have trouble… But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
The next time trouble surrounds you, remember that Jesus Himself went through the greatest trials and suffering, and that He sympathizes in our weaknesses. Use your sorrows as a springboard to grow, not in doubt and fear or casting blame, but to grow in wisdom and faith.
That’s a truth so simple even a child can get, but also so deep it could take a long time—perhaps even something like 1,000 years—to grasp fully.