It was when we were sitting close on the sofa, the book open between us….
I look at his blonde head beneath mine. I watch his little fingers opening those lift-the-flap letters from God and I see him smile as we write his name on each one.
And I think – what greater blessing could there possibly be than to sit with your three year old grandson and read God’s great story together on a Thursday afternoon?
What could be more wonderful than to share the words of a book you were privileged to author? Words that flowed through your pen and came to life on the page; and when you read them over the next day, you wondered where on earth they came from? And then to realize of course that these life-giving words did not originate on earth at all, but could only possibly have been born in heaven.
My three year old joy laughs at the story of Jonah in The Very Smelly Belly; he smiles when he hears how Zacchaeus, The Tiny Tax Collector, found his very best friend; and he looks with interest at the marks on Jesus’ hands and feet when we read The Happy Ending.
And then he turns the page to see his very own invitation…..his chance to say yes to God; to say yes to being part of God’s wonderful family; to say yes to salvation; to say yes to joining Jesus’ team.
And I remember when I was writing the book, how I had pondered long about how to offer that salvation call to little ones, how to word it in such a way that their little minds might understand, and their little hearts be open to.
It took me a while, but one day in my mind I saw that Galilean beach so long ago, and those fishing boats pulled up on shore, and Jesus walking along the beach, leaving his footprints in the sand as he makes his way toward James and John. And Jesus simply says,
And there it was: the Invitation. The life-giving invitation to the most amazing adventure those brothers would ever know. Simple. Uncomplicated. No conditions. Just follow me.
And they do! Those first disciples drop their nets and said yes to Jesus. They just follow his sandy footsteps along the beach without saying ‘The Sinners’ Prayer’, or falling to their knees in repentance. All that would come later. For now, all they do is say yes.
Salvation is simple. It was never meant to be complex, or hard to understand. Salvation is a simple invitation to say yes to Jesus.
And so the little blonde on my lap turns the last page of the book, and he sees his invitation. He sees the last envelope attached to the page, with blank lines, ready for him to write his own letter to God; his own yes; in his own little way.
What’s this Grandma?
Well, it’s your invitation honey, to join Jesus’ team, And this is a letter that you can write back to God one day.
But not right now I’m thinking…you’re too young. You’re only three. You don’t understand.
But he is insistent; he wants to write his reply now; and so hesitantly, I ask,
Well what do you want to say to God?
And then here it comes…
His immediate, perfect, three year old response.
It’s not supposed to be this way…this teaching thing. Grandmas are supposed to teach their three year old grandsons, not the other way around. But that’s when God steps in, right there, when you’re sitting on the sofa on a Thursday afternoon, that’s when God steps in, out of the blue, and lets you know He’s real.
I want to say I Love You.
My three year old grandson wants to tell God he loves Him. Perfect. And right now, at just three years of age, what more would God want to hear?
The book sits closed on my table now. My grandson is probably playing in his sand pit.
But when he comes here again, we will sit on the sofa, and take up the book. We will turn its pages, and open that letter, where those three little words scrawled In his three year old hand are waiting to remind me-
you are never too young for salvation;
you are never too young to say yes to God.