Caroline, our seven year old daughter, was very quiet in the car on the way to school this morning. I asked her if she was okay. She said yes, but then got quiet again. Several minutes later she said, “Hey, dad! I’ve got an idea!”
My first thought was that we were either about to build something or about to blow something up…
“What if I took my Bible and went to China and told the president of China about Jesus and showed him some things in the Bible about Jesus?” she asked. “Do you think that would make him believe in Jesus?”
It’s early morning conversations like this that warm my heart … and make me wish I drank coffee.
“Well, Caroline, you can’t make someone believe in Jesus,” I said, stalling to gather my thoughts. “They have to choose to believe in him.”
While I was saying this, my mind raced back to a September morning, more than a year ago, when Caroline asked me, “Daddy, why doesn’t the governor like Jesus?” That question came from a conversation Caroline and I had two weeks prior, when I was telling her about Christians in China being put in prison for refusing to renounce their faith.
As I was remembering this, my mind was also filling with all of the “reasons” her missionary plan would never work.
- To be the President of China, one must be the Chairman of the Communist Party, an organization known for its faux atheism, which is betrayed by its open hatred of God.
- The Chinese government actively persecutes Christians whenever and wherever it can find them.
- The president of China lives and works in buildings guarded be military personnel who are also communists and God-haters.
- It would be illegal to even take your Bible to China.
- You’re seven years old and you are not going to China … at least, not right now.
As I explained “softened” versions of these reasons – they’re really excuses – to Caroline, the thought occurred to me that God has placed a passion in my child’s heart that I have no business discouraging.
So, I quickly changed gears.
“But, Caroline, if God has chosen you to be the one who tells the president of China about Jesus so that he will believe in Jesus, then there’s nothing in Heaven or Hell or on earth that can stop that from happening,” I added. “So, you just keep praying about it and thinking about it and coming up with ideas.”
Honestly, I was pretty proud of myself for nipping my cynicism in the bud. And I was very proud of my daughter. But she wasn’t finished.
“Well,” she replied, “I was just thinking that, if I told the president of China about Jesus and he believed in him, then he would tell all the soldiers and the army men in China about Jesus and they would believe, and then there wouldn’t be any more wars and they could tell all the other people in China about Jesus so they could believe.”
In Caroline’s mind, the only reason Chinese President Hu Jintao doesn’t believe in Jesus is because he doesn’t know and understand the things about Jesus that she does. So, she reasons, if she just shared those things with him, he would understand and believe.
Now, I actually understand “childlike faith.”
This is not the first time Caroline has expressed her evangelistic tendencies. When they graduated from kindergarten, she and her classmates were asked to write down what they wanted to be when they grow up. There were plenty of future teachers, police officers, firefighters, construction workers, doctors, nurses and lawyers in the room. Caroline asked her teacher how to spell “missionary.”
Prior to that, when she was attending a Christian pre-school, Caroline complained one morning:
“Daddy, I want to tell people that God loves them and that Jesus died for our sins. But all the kids at my school and all the teachers already know that… I’m never going to get to tell anyone about Jesus!”
Fast-forward to today. My seven year old daughter wants to go to China to tell the president about Jesus, because she’s certain that he will believe in Jesus if she does.
I spent the better part of my trip to work crying, both because I am so proud of my daughter and so ashamed of myself for not having as much faith as the little girl I’m supposed to be teaching about Jesus.
As Mark 9:24 says in the Good News Translation: “The father at once cried out, ‘I do have faith, but not enough. Help me have more!'”