Why questions from a four year old seeker

As my son was climbing into bed one night, he asked “Why did God make people if all they are going to do is die?” A flood of questions follow and stir up in my own mind. Is he preparing for a thesis towards his doctorate in theology about 30 years early? Why does he have to ask these questions before bed?  Why do kids ask why questions that make me so tired that I may seriously consider saving up for a pace maker.

Why did God make people if all they are going to do is die? A loaded question that I have to answer with substance and strong conviction. It’s a little like debate. I was a very poor debater in college. ( especially in bone cold South Dakota at 4 am ) It’s a question that needs a solid answer in order for this “up and coming theologian” to finally lay his head down and hopefully sleep through the night without the “Lenny and Squiggy” entrance into our bedroom at a timely 3:am! Oh why can’t it be an easy one- you know something like why doesn’t dad mow the lawn in the winter time?

With God’s grace (and strength- I am totally sleep deprived) I respond.
“Well ….”
I pause, (always a good thing to pause to allow some suspense and also figure out what to say)
“First of all, in the very beginning, way a long time ago…”
I keep adding words that don’t really need saying but I say them anyway so that it sounds wise.
” God made people so that they could have fun on the earth and have fun knowing Him too.”
I wasn’t  sure he was buying  into it but I continued.
“People don’t just die. They make forts, play with their race cars, eat hamburgers and French fries, watch Max and Ruby, build snowmen, have water balloon tosses, go to school, play hide and seek,  and all kinds of things.”
Pardon all the young boy stuff- but you can fill in your own “do’s” for someone your age.
“We aren’t going to die anyway”.
“What?” he says. “We’re not?”
“No, we are going to do a bunch of stuff here first, and I mean a bunch. So much to do that it takes a long time to get it all done. And when God says its time-”
I say this at the risk of another question such as WHEN will I die?
“We will go to heaven to be with God and have the best time we have ever had.”
He’s silent and then says-
“Mom, read this story first.”
He hands me his Lightening McQueen book and opens it up to the first page.
Maybe I laid it on too thick. Maybe I said too much. This four year old almost five year old soul seeker, digested my nightly sermon, snuggled in and perhaps in faith, continues his nightly ritual and gets ready for rest so that he can do more do’s and have fun in God’s world, and probably muster up another why question for the next day.

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