It was early evening.
We often played musical beds at bedtime, because the younger children liked the security of a sibling or two falling asleep with them, especially when older brothers and sisters were still up and having fun. So it happened that I was laying down on three year old Claire’s bed, nursing an infant while she played with my hair and sucked her thumb. Five-year-old Daniel was almost asleep across the room. His breathing was slow and deep. The only other sound in the peaceful room came from a fan that created just enough white noise to drown out the other kid’s voices.
Daniel suddenly sat straight up in bed, popped his eyes open and yelled excitedly,
“Someone just called my name. I think it was God!”
Claire took her thumb out of her mouth and lisped,
“Who is God?”
I turned my head to look at her and smiled, “You know, God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.”
Claire was still puzzled,
“You mean the priest at Church?”
“No”, I responded, “The God that fills the whole universe.”
Claire took her thumb out of her mouth and said very dismissively,
“Oh, Himmm. I know Himmm.”
Then she closed her eyes and stuck her thumb back in her mouth.
I barely held in my laughter. This little squirt took for granted her close relationship with the Living God, King of Kings and Lord of Lords. God is close to babies and little children. His relationship with them is not complicated, as natural as breathing. They are simply His children; He loves them and they reflect love back.
Daniel interrupted and added joyfully,
“Well, He called my name!”
Claire opened her eyes and stated very authoritatively but in a nasal, little girl voice,
“It was just your imagination, Dannnyyy.”
Then she closed her eyes and started sucking her thumb again.
Daniel was upset. I countered her statement,
“It could be God, Claire. The Holy Spirit lives in our hearts and does communicate with us.”
Daniel was satisfied and he lay back down to sleep.
But Claire, with her eyes still closed whispered to me,
“It was just his imagination!”
Then she popped her thumb back into her mouth.
Although I was not pleased with my three year old's conclusions, the discussion was closed for that particular day. Yet, I had learned more than my children. I learned that although I can guide and teach, God himself will teach my little ones, if I cultivate an atmosphere of prayerful listening in our home.