As a pastor, I’m blessed to be not only an under-shepherd of God’s grown-up sheep, but of His little lambs as well. During a crisis like the one in which we now find ourselves, it is very easy to be so caught up in our own concerns and preparations that we overlook the wee ones. They may be small, but when they see their schools closing, or their mommy or daddy staying home from work, or when they don’t get to go visit granny in her care facility like they would normally do, their fear can be just as real and just as big as anything that might face an adult. These are confusing times for a child, and they need their parents or grandparents or other grown-ups to help them to understand that even when the world seems like it is falling apart, the Lord is still in control, and is still protecting them from all evil. Here is a simple presentation of the gospel that might help you as you talk to your little one about the coronavirus, its impact on our society, and how we respond to it as Christians.
A long time ago in a far-off country, there lived a good King. This King had two subjects, a man and a woman who were husband and wife. He loved His people very much, and even though He was a King, He liked to spend time with them, and go on walks with them, and talk with them. The people lived in a big garden that the King had planted just for them. Every fruit tree you could think of was in the garden: there were apple trees, and banana trees, and potato trees – well, maybe not potato trees, but you understand. It was a wonderful place to live, and the people loved their King.
The King gave His people only one rule: they could eat from any tree in the garden, but there was one tree they weren’t supposed to eat from. As long as they didn’t eat from that tree, they could stay in the garden and live with the King. But one day, the enemy of the King made his way into the garden disguised as a snake. He tricked the man and the woman into breaking the King’s one rule. They ate from the one tree they were told not to eat from.
Now, when you break a rule, what happens? That’s right, you get in trouble, and you’re punished. Well, the man and his wife had broken the one rule the King had given them; what do you think happened to them? That’s right, they got in trouble, and they were punished. They had to leave the garden. But, that’s not all, because they had broken the one rule of the good King, they had to die. And so, sickness (like viruses) and pain and death came into the world. The man and his wife and all their children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren and… but you understand… were cursed because they broke the King’s law.
A lot of people would think that’s the end of the story. There are a lot of stories that seem to have sad endings. But this story doesn’t have a sad ending. The reason why is because the King loved the man and the woman very much.
Because of His great love for His people, He laid aside His crown, and came down from His throne, and went to His people. He lived like one of them, even though He was the King; He got tired from a hard day’s work, He was hungry and thirsty, He was tempted to do bad things – though He never did any bad things. When people got sick, He would heal them – He was the King, so He could do that. Sometimes, people would die, and He would even bring them back to life. Many of His people didn’t recognize that it was the King Who was with them, talking to them, teaching them, walking with them, loving them. Some of the people didn’t like what the King was saying and doing, and so they decided they had to get rid of the King. They put the King to death by nailing Him to a tree.
Little did they know, this is why the King came all along! Death was the punishment for His people because they broke His rule, remember? Well, instead of letting His people die, He decided to die in their place. He took the punishment that was meant for His people.
Now, a lot of people would think THAT’S the end of the story… but they’re wrong. Like I told you, this story doesn’t have a sad ending. Three days after He died, the King came alive again! He had taken all the punishment that was meant for His people – that is, for those Who truly believe He is the King – and He saved them from death.
The King returned to His throne, and from His throne He rules the whole world, so that nothing truly bad can ever happen to His people whom He loves. Even if they get sick and die, they will one day live again just like the King came alive again! We know this is true, because the King loved His people so much that He gave His life for them! Because He is King of the whole world, His people never have to be afraid, but can trust Him to take care of them no matter what happens; and, even though He is King and is on His throne, He is still always with His people, watching over them, taking care of them, and healing them.
Little one, this isn’t a fairy tale – this is a true story! The King is Jesus! He loved you so much that He chose to die in your place. That’s a great love, isn’t it? There are a lot of scary things in the world, but we know that because our King loves us, nothing can destroy us in the long run. He is in control of the whole world, and nothing happens without His permission. He is with us, and if we trust Him, there’s no reason to be afraid. Nothing can separate us from His love; we are His forever!