Today as I was buckling my five-year-old into the car before school, she said something I didn’t expect. She looked at me and said, verbatim: “Mommy, people keep telling me God is real. But I can’t see him. So how can I know he’s real?”
I think I was so thrown off by the question because I figured I had a few more years before I had to answer this one. I assumed it came sometime between “where do babies come from?” and “can I get my belly button pierced?” (Do girls still get their belly buttons pierced? I don’t even know anymore. In any case, I was caught off guard.)
We only had a five-minute drive to school, so there wasn’t much time to tackle all the things we could’ve talked about. But I want to share what I told my little girl in those five minutes.
I told her there are lots of things in this world we can’t see even though they’re real. I turned the air conditioning on full-blast and asked if she felt the cool air blowing on her in the backseat.
“Is the air real?” I asked.
A big smile spread across her face and she nodded.
“You’re right. Air is real. In fact, we can’t live without air. We’d die without it, but we can’t see it. Air is very real.”
We went on to talk about the wind outside. We talked about how we can see the effects of the wind, and we can discern that the wind is extremely powerful, capable of knocking down buildings and trees. We can learn about the nature of the wind, but we can’t control it, no matter how we try. The wind is usually gentle, but we know it’s stronger than we are. And though we can’t see it, it’s very real.
We talked about temperature – how we can’t see hot or cold, but we can feel hot or cold. We talked about how we can see things affected by temperature; steam coming off Mommy’s cup of coffee, frost blanketed across the morning grass.
And then we talked about cookies. I asked her, “If you came home from school and saw a plate of yummy chocolate chip cookies on the counter, what would you think about how they got there?”
She said, “I would think you made them.”
We went on to talk about how when something is complex, like a cookie, it implies it was made using a recipe, or a special process using special materials. I told her about DNA, that inside every single human being is a recipe made up of billions of parts. I told her that even though we can study and learn the recipe for humans, no one can make one on their own. (Not from scratch out of absolutely nothing anyway!) And I told her about the fact that this recipe is evidence of intelligent design, it’s evidence that there’s a baker. Someone made the recipe, and then followed it. And yeah, she may or may not picture God as a chef now, because we got out of the car around this time, but she’s five. She’ll get there.
So why am I dropping everything to share this? Because I know that as adults, we can have this question, too. There was a time in my life when I had this question, and deep down, I was terrified of the answer. So I wandered away from God, looking for answers elsewhere. I was afraid that if I found the answer to this big question, then I’d realize God was just an illusion, and I’d have nothing to hope in.
Because there’s this awful lie floating around that God and science are in competition. And it’s just not true. The truth is God can handle your big questions. The Bible can stand up to the toughest scrutiny with respect to historical accuracy, archaeological findings, scientific data, etc. No, really, it can. Don’t be afraid to ask the big questions, and then actually look into the answers. Look into them for yourself. Open the book and see.
There are all kinds of brilliant people who set out to write books disproving the Gospel, and then once they actually studied, ended up writing books supporting the very thing they set out to disprove. Perhaps one of the most well-known books like this is Lee Strobel’s The Case For Christ. It’s a great book to pick up if you’re interested in finding answers to big questions, and if you’re not a book person, the movie is pretty informative, too.
God’s word is not going to crumble against your big questions. You can bet your life on it. Literally.
My heart was urgent to drop everything and write this message as soon as possible. Thanks for letting me share it with you today.
And hey, also… someone’s gonna have to help me out when she asks where babies come from.
2 thoughts on “The Big Question”
Courtney, I have to say this couldn’t come at a better time for me. I’ve been asking that very question myself for the past couple of years and my faith had faltered because of it. Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful moment with me!
Beautiful illustrations … sometimes I need a “five year old” explanation to remind me of who God is!❤️