Wednesday night we went to AWANA. During book time, a group of girls who we have been working with over the past year, were working on some verses. One girl was stopped at the question “What does it mean to trust in Jesus” thinking she knew how to answer it, I moved on to something else, when she started asking me to help her. Over the next 30 minutes I divided my time between listening to verses, and trying to explain what it meant – I sent her to a few different places in the Bible. I tried to reword it. I asked if she trusted in Jesus, and when she said yes – I asked her what it meant to her personally. I tried everything else I could think of…but by the time it was to line up she slammed her book and said “I DON’T GET IT!!” I told her that next week, her and I were going to work on that – because it was very important. She agreed.
But these past few days – that question has taunted me.
What DOES it mean?
I mean, I KNOW what it means, but why couldn’t I explain to a little 9 year old what it meant! And how am I going to explain it to her next week so she can understand? Its an important question, and one I don’t want her leaving, without knowing in her mind and heart, what it truly means.
As a result, I have spent a lot of my spare time mulling over the question, even going over it before bed, holding imaginary conversations with myself, as I try to explain it in different ways to help her understand the weight of it.
In all honesty, I would like to think she knows. And maybe just think she wasnt applying herself, and really focusing. She wasn’t taking it seriously, and as a result – she didn’t know! She would answer with things like “So we can know about Him” and “So we can know about us.” I used her answers to try and tell her more about it – That yes, He gave us the Bible so we could know about Him, and what He did, and so we could trust in Him, but what does that mean? Yes, but we already know about ourselves, which is WHY we need to trust in Him!
But she didn’t get it.
We were going in circles, her in tears, and me in frustration. There were a lot of tears that night.
But I know she didn’t understand when she walked out the door, and that didnt sit well with me.
So just WHAT does it mean to trust in Jesus?
A simple question, with so much meaning, and very fitting I think this time of year especially.
I was talking to Amanda about it, confused on what way to run with it, wondering if I had said the right things, and getting some fresh ideas on how to present it to her next week. She said I should start at the beginning, tell the story of Jesus. Tell it so they understand the seriousness of it.
And so I begin:
What does it mean to trust?
Do you trust your mom? Your dad? Do you trust the chair you are sitting in? That is what I means to trust. But what about trusting Jesus?
We are sinners. All of us. We have all done really bad things. Your mom, your dad, myself. You. We have all sinned and as a result, we cannot be with God – because of these sins. You have to be perfect to be with Him, and none of us are.
I told her something similar to the above, and added a few Bible verses.
Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”
Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
We talked about what the verses meant, what the words meant.
Because of these sins, Jesus had to die for us. But He didn’t just die. He was crucified. Hung on a cross, he bled, and suffered, and then died. For us. For you. For me. For mom. For dad. For everyone who has ever done anything bad.
There was a gap – between us and God. We are on one side, He is on the other – and in between there is a big gap, that we cant get across. We were forever separated from Him. But when Jesus died (and rose!) he filled the gap, and made it possible for us to be with Him forever.
Trusting Jesus means believing that He died, that He bridged that gap. The gap that we couldnt cross.
Trust: rely on somebody or something.
We KNOW that we are sinners. We TRUST that Jesus died for US. We know that the only way we can ever be with Him, is by trusting that He died for us. That He rose for us. That HE (and He alone) saved us.
We know that nothing WE do can ever fill that gap, or take away our sins, but we Trust that Jesus died, took our place, and our punishment – and because of this, we can be with Him forever.
Trust. It’s a hard word to try and explain.
Trusting Jesus is not.
And while I hope I can explain this to her next week, I pray that she understands, knows, and TRUSTS this for years to come.