By Jessica Roberts
In the middle of math class, one of my second graders made this startling declaration: “There is no God!”
Considering that this was a Christian school and Martin was the son of a pastor, I had to wonder how he had suddenly come to this conclusion in my classroom. When asked, he proclaimed, “My dad says that there’s God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, but also that there’s only one God. It makes no sense.”
What to do? I was sure that greater minds than Martin’s had contemplated the Holy Trinity and run into the same problem, but at the moment I really preferred to stick to multiplication.
“Martin, we’re in math class. We can talk about that later.”
“It is a math problem,” Martin replied. “Three is not the same as one!”
What parent or teacher hasn’t been similarly ambushed? From the lips of children come a lot of tough questions. I’ve learned that the best thing I can do in such cases is ask God for wisdom, because what I may interpret as cockiness or contrariness on the part of the child may in fact be divinely instilled inquisitiveness and a great teaching opportunity. I didn’t feel sufficiently brushed up on my theology to explain the concept of the Trinity to Martin and his classmates. …
Recess. Saved by the bell!
For the next ten minutes, while the children played, I prayed. And an answer came to me. It was a bit simplistic and probably not how St. Augustine or other Christian thinkers would have explained it, but it worked for Martin and the others when math class resumed.
“The Bible calls Jesus the Rose of Sharon,” I told them. “God is like the root of the rose bush. He’s hidden, but that’s where the rose had its beginning and grew from. Jesus is like the rose blossom. He is the showy part of God’s love that we can ‘see’ and sense. The Holy Spirit is like the sap that flows through the bush, keeping it alive. Three aspects, but the same rose bush. See?”
I imagine Martin will have even tougher questions in the future, and of course I have plenty of questions myself. Thankfully, God always answers when we ask sincerely. He may give a simple, straightforward explanation like the one He gave for Martin, or one that’s more involved, or He may simply give us peace to accept what we cannot yet understand.
Courtesy of Activated magazine. Used with permission.