My oldest son sat at the kitchen table looking down at his folded hands. I was preparing Sunday lunch, and I could tell that he was thinking.
He’s probably reflecting on his morning at children’s church, I mused.
My son finally looked up at me and said, “You don’t love me most, do you, Mommy?”
His question stopped me. “Of course, I love you. I would die for you.”
He looked back down again. “Yes, but you don’t love me most.”
I quickly washed my hands and shook them dry as I walked to the table and sat down next to him.
“What do you mean?” I asked, wanting to know specifically what thoughts were coursing through his brain.
“You are supposed to love God most, so that means you don’t love me most,” he said. Red outlined his eyes and tears began to trace his cheeks.
I knew that he must have learned about loving God at church. We are called to love Him most, which is a difficult topic to understand, especially for a seven year old.
“Loving God most doesn’t mean I love you any less,” I said taking his hand. “In fact, loving God most allows me to love you even more.”
He looked up at me shaking his head in frustration. “How?”
“My love for God makes me want to be a better mommy, to be a better wife to Daddy and to be a better friend to others. It’s hard to explain but when my heart loves God, He gives me more love to share.”
“But why are we supposed to love God most?” he asked, becoming more upset.
“Because without God, I wouldn’t have you,” I answered.
My son’s faced relaxed a bit. “What do you mean?”
“God created this world. He created Daddy and me. And He created you and your brother and sister. Without God nothing would exist. I love Him because He gave me my family,” I said, hoping my son’s young mind would understand.
“So if there wasn’t a God, where would I be?” my son asked as his inquisitive mind explored the possibilities.
“You wouldn’t be here,” I answered.
“Where would I be?” he asked again.
“You wouldn’t be anywhere,” I said. “God created everything, so without Him nothing would exist.”
“I would be dead,” he asked, struggling to comprehend the absence of God.
“No, you would have never been born. None of us would have been born. This earth, the moon, the sun, people – all of life would be empty.”
My son contemplated my words, and I saw a spark of understanding. I could tell he felt better, but I knew the shift from self-love to God-love would take time. I pulled his hand and took him into my arms.
“I know you love me very much,” I whispered in his ear. “Someday, though, you will love God more. But your love for me now is teaching you how to love God when you’re older. And as your love for God grows, you’ll be able to love me even more.”
“You love him even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy” (1 Peter 1.9 NLT).
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