Young children growing up in a Scripture rich environment will hear certain phrases over and over at church and at home. They will hear them enough that they can repeat them as easily as singing the ABC song. But, just because they can say, “Jesus died on the cross for our sins,” or “We have to take Jesus into our hearts,” does not mean that they can understand the phrases or live them.
So, what does that mean for the parent, and Bible teacher at church? Do we avoid all mention of these stories until they can be understood? No! We must begin at this stage to help them understand what they CAN understand.
Young children may not be able to grasp some of the more complex truths of the Bible, but they CAN understand…
- The love of God
- The reality of Jesus
- Trust in the truths of the Bible
As time and experience take their course, each child will face the serious questions of sin and its consequences, death and eternity. While young children will not understand the entire story of Easter (the resurrection), there are elements that they can understand…
- God’s special love is shown in the Bible for all people including us.
- God is all-powerful and can know and control things that we cannot.
- God cared and provided for people in the Bible and still provides for us today.
By building on the concepts that they CAN understand at this stage of development, we are building a foundation of trust so they can make important decisions in the future.
Perhaps the most significant discovery in life is that each of us chooses to live in rebellion against God’s wishes. It is our nature. And for the vast majority we cannot understand these concepts at 4 and 5. Don’t worry! In God’s good timing, and just as He planned our human development, there will come to each boy and girl a time that the Holy Spirit pulls them to the realization that they are a sinner in need of salvation. At that point it all fits together in their understanding.
So, what do we do at Easter with preschoolers?
We tell them of God’s love and power and Jesus’ obedience to Father God. Real understanding of death and resurrection and how that impacts his or her life will come at the appropriate time. It is a mature thought process and decision. God designed the growth and development of people just so that at the right time of maturity and experience we can trust Him for our eternal life.
I trust that this computer will work, though I don’t know how. Even more, I can trust our eternal God to do what He says. We are at the trust-building stage with young children, so for now…
Tell the story. Be amazed. Share the love. Share the joy!
Long Hollow Baptist Church