Last night I came to our mid-week youth program thinking I was teaching a class and instead I learned a great deal. We are studying the character and nature of God and we were learning about four of God’s character traits.
- God is Just
- God is Unchanging
- God is Gracious
- God is Unfathomable
With the first one (God is just) I wanted to challenge the class with something hard to grapple with so I pushed them: “How is God just when bad things happen?” I shared a situation at my church were we were praying for someone to get better and instead they died. How is God just there?
One of the girls in class (Emily) was first to speak and after a brief pause she said, “God gives life; It’s His. When you die you give back to God what belongs to Him.” I was profoundly shaken by that thought. Why do I begrudge God for taking what is His? It is a very sobering thing to consider that God owes us nothing. We are not entitled to life.
Secondly, God is just in the final analysis, and not just over this life and this world. Scores are settled and justice is served, but often it is not until Jesus has returned to restore all things and make them new.
We talked about substitutionary atonement, how God made Jesus who had no sin to be sin so that we might become righteous through Him.(2 Cor 5:21) Martin Luther called this, “the great exchange,” my sin for His righteousness. I shared with the class that if God is righteous He must punish sin, otherwise He is not just. Again Emily asked, “but is Jesus fair to Himself if He takes the blame for our sin?” (insert pause here)
The other adults at the back looked like they had ice cream headaches. We were here to teach and found ourselves sharing words with philosophers and scholars. It was a great Holy Spirit moment. God’s word spoke to us through the questions our children asked.
Have you ever been humbled by the questions your kids ask?