“Mama, when do we get to fly up into heaven and be with Jesus?” my five-year-old asked.
“Well, um,” I tried to figure out a way to explain, but I was momentarily stumped, “Why do you ask?”
“In Sunday school, Mrs. Mary said one day we get to fly in the sky,” I saw a grin spread across his face in the rearview mirror. “And I think it would be really cool to fly through outer space. Do we even go through outer space to get to heaven? Will there be aliens? Ohhh, Mama, we could stop and meet the aliens. Wouldn’t that be fun? Maybe we could take them to heaven with us.”
Daniel continued chattering about flying, outer space, and fly-through restaurants run by aliens. But as he talked to no one and everyone, my mind went back to his question. How would I even begin to explain Jesus, salvation, and the one-day resurrection to a five-year-old?
A week later, I got my chance, “Mama, I’m so ready to fly to heaven and be with Jesus,” Daniel smiled and clapped his hands together as he spoke.
“Daniel, there is more to it than just flying to heaven.” It was time to start this conversation whether I was ready or not. “In order for you to go to heaven one day, you have to ask Jesus to come live inside your heart and choose to live for Him the rest of your life.”
Total silence. But I waited. “Mama,” he finally began, “is Jesus a midget?”
“A midget. Like a little person.”
“I know what that is, Daniel, but why did you ask if Jesus was a little person?”
“He would have to be a tiny person. I’m so little. He’d have to be littler than me to live inside my heart. I just think He’s gonna’ be too big.”
It took everything within me to keep a straight face as I tried to explain to this overly-curious kid the concept of our omniscient God. How He lives inside our hearts in the form of the Holy Spirit and how God sent Jesus down to earth to die for our sins so one day we could spend eternity with Him in heaven. After thirty minutes of me jabbering on and on, desperately attempting to break down these huge theological concepts, I stopped. “So, Daniel, does that make sense?”
Silence again. “Not really. I just wanna’ know about that flying part at the end. Let me know when we get to do that. It sounds like the most fun.”
All that mom pressure. All that breaking down of hard concepts. All that explaining, hoping he was ready to understand and digest such deep spiritual truths. Nope. All he wanted was to fly.
But, as usual, God didn’t waste the moment. After reflection, I realized how often I fail to comprehend how big Jesus is. I try to miniaturize Him into whom I think He should be, and I get mad when my suggestions and ideas are trumped by His greater good for my life and those around me. I put Him in my “Sunday box” or my “Bible study box” and set safe guidelines and parameters for my interactions. I rehearse and plan prayers or speeches about God, but neglect to consult Him in the process.
Deep conviction swept over me. Jesus is not a little person, and I cannot force Him into a tiny place in my heart and expect Him to be the Lord of my life. If anything, I have to recognize just how big He really is and place my little ole self into the center of His “bigness.” Without Him, I am nothing, and, too often, I take my eyes off the reality that only through Him do I have any definition or reason for existence.
Jesus is too big for the manmade boxes we try to fit Him into. He’s too big for the tiny corners of our heart we try to give Him. He’s too big for us to even comprehend. But yet, in all of His bigness, He sees us. Each one of us. And He knows us. Intimately. And He loves us. Enough to be born in human skin and live a sinless life. To die on a cross for sins He never committed and to carry the shame that was never His to bear. He took our place so that we don’t have to die. He became our sacrifice to bridge the gap between us and God. Such grace. Such mercy. Such bigness.
A few weeks later, Daniel asked again, “Mama, when do we get to fly with Jesus?”
“I don’t know sweet boy, but won’t it be amazing to be with Jesus and fly through the air with Him?”
Great news. When Jesus lives in our hearts and is the Lord of our lives in a big way, we don’t have to wait until the end to learn how to fly. Flying lessons start right now. All it takes is a giant, “Yes!” and a heart of surrender.
© Christy Bass Adams, December 2020
All images from Canva