bigger than the sky
“Bigger than the sky, right, Nay-Nay?” my 4-year-old Nephew asked, smiling up at me as we walked to the park.
I smiled back and replied, “Yes, Jakey. Bigger than the sky.” I laughed to myself, loving how he remembered that particular term of endearment; how I was always telling him that I loved him “bigger than the sky.”
“How big IS the sky?” he asked staring up at the crisp and cloudless fall day we were enjoying together.
Hmmmm… I thought. “Well…,” I started, and then stopped. He was forever catching me off-guard with his innocent but important questions.
“You know who God is, right?” I began again, wondering how I was going to explain this.
“Yep. He lives up in the sky,” he answered, proud of himself for making the connection.
“Yes,” I replied. “But know where else He lives too?”
“Where?” he asked, but now only half-listening.
“Right here in your heart,” I told him, poking him playfully in the chest. Now I had his attention.
He giggled. “No, Nay-Nay. He doesn’t fit in there. My heart is little and God is big.”
“That’s right,” I exclaimed excitedly. “God is very big. God is bigger than your heart, but he is also SO BIG that He is actually bigger than the sky too.”
“FOR REAL?” he asked incredulously.
“Yup. God is so big that He has to live all the places, all the time. In fact, God is SO BIG that the regular rules don’t apply to him. He can do or be whatever He wants. So He lives in the sky and above the sky because He made the sky and He loves the sky. He also lives in you because He made you and He loves you,” I attempted to explain.
“So He can live in my heart even though He is really too big to fit?” asked Jake wonderingly.
“Absolutely,” I answered. “In fact, God is so big, that He is actually too big to fit in the sky too. He is the biggest thing that ever was and ever will be. Know what else God is?” I prodded.
“Huh-uh,” he said, shaking his head.
I said, “God is Holy.”
“What Holy is?” he asked curiously.
AH…now there was a question. I sighed to myself and wondered how I was going to explain this in a way a kid could understand when I myself could barely grasp it.
“Did you make the sky, Jake?” I asked him teasingly.
“No, Nay-Nay. I didn’t make the sky. Did you?”
“Nope, I didn’t make the sky either, Jake. But God did. In fact, God is so big and so powerful that He made the sky, the world, and everything in it, including me and you. And that means that God must be super-duper bigger and smarter and stronger than we are. And because God is so big and so smart and so strong, that means He is very different than us. So different in fact, that we can’t even understand him all the way, even when we play pretend. We call this difference Holiness.”
“Oh…,” he said, obviously not quite getting it.
“Know how else He is different from us?” I continued, trying to explain further.
“Hmmm?” he muttered, still mulling over the first part.
“You know how sometimes you are naughty and have to go to time-out?”
A guilty look flooded his face. “Yes,” he said shyly.
I said, “Well, God never has had to go to time-out because He is so good that He has never, ever been naughty.”
“Not even if He doesn’t taked his nap?” he asked.
I stifled a laugh. “Yep – because God is so big and strong that He doesn’t ever need a nap,” I answered.
“WHOA,” he said wonderingly. “Well someday I will be big and not have to taked a nap either, right?” he asked hopefully.
“Yes, someday you will be bigger and stronger and you won’t need a nap anymore, Jakey. But you will never be as big and strong as God so there will never be a time that you don’t need God. See, when God made us, He put us together like a puzzle, and having a friendship with God is one of the biggest pieces of that puzzle. So if we don’t put the God piece in our puzzle, we are never quite complete. God built us like that so that we would always know something was missing without a friendship with him. And once you put him in your heart, He will stay there all the time, forever and ever, which means He gets to be your very best friend.”
“Like Keagan?” he asked, referring to his best little buddy at day care.
“Like Keagan, but way bigger and different than Keagan too,” I replied. “Because Keagan is just a boy and he can only be friends with a few people at a time.”
“Or else he will get too tired and need a nap, right Nay-Nay?”
I laughed out loud at this. “Exactly,” I told him. “That is another way He is so different than us. See, God is so big and so different and so Holy that only He can be everybody’s best friend in the whole world all of the time, and all at the same time. And that is also why God wants to come and live in our hearts, so He can be with us all the time and we can always know how much He loves us.”
“Bigger than the sky, right Nay-Nay?” he asked again.
“Yes, Jakey. Bigger than the sky.”
♥ ♥ ♥
*This story is my attempt to “explain the holiness of God to a child,” an assignment I was recently given in my Spiritual Life class at Dallas Theological Seminary. And while I have had to write a bajillion papers since starting grad school, I gotta tell you, this was a tough project. But I ended up learning a lot from the process and since this was one of the few papers that didn’t require the use of dry theological language, I thought I would share. 😉