Hush my Darling, Don’t Fear my Darling ~ A Child’s First Encounter with Jesus

After picking her up from daycare, we sat in my car, my little bi-racial great grand- daughter and me. We were listening to the last of a favorite song.

Hush my darling, don’t fear my darling. The lion sleeps tonight.

Wimoweh, wimoweh, wimoweh, wimoweh
Wimoweh, wimoweh, wimoweh, wimoweh
Wimoweh, wimoweh, wimoweh, wimoweh
Wimoweh, wimoweh, wimoweh, wimoweh


While singing along, she played with the cross hanging from my rear-view mirror. She flipped in over, then took it down, then put it around her neck, then removed it and put it around my neck.

A few days shy of just four years-old, my little darling said, “Opa – why do you leave this cross in your car? Why don’t you take it in the house?”

“I like having it in my car, honey. When driving, it comforts me.”

“Hugh? How does it comfort you?” she asked.

“This is the cross of Jesus, honey. He died on it so that we might be forgiven for all of our sins. It reminds me of his love and assures me that if anything bad should happen, I will go to heaven and be with him.”

“Jesus is dead?”

“No, honey. He did die, but then he came back to life for a short while to prove to us that he truly is the son of God. After this he went to heaven, promising to return again someday.”

Quiet now, listening to the song’s final Ee-e-e-um-um-a-wehs, tears began to stream down my little darling’s face.

“What’s wrong, honey. Why are you sad??

“Opa,” she said, “I don’t want you to go to heaven. I want you to stay here with me.”

“I will, honey. I promise I will. I will stay here with you for as long as I possibly can. But we all want to go to heaven someday; we all have to die eventually.”

I strung the cross back over my rear-view mirror and my little darling moved onto my lap hugging me around the neck.

“Come on, sweetheart,” I said. “Let’s go in the house and have a little snack.”

The next morning, I was up at the crack of dawn, which is my daily habit. I was laying back in my big leather recliner with my first cup of coffee in one hand, my iPad in my lap, and a stylus in my other hand when my little darling came padding down the stairs. She had a stuffed puppy cradled under one arm and was dragging a blanket behind her with the other.

“Opa?” She asked. “Who killed Jesus?”

Obviously, she had taken our short discussion of life and death and the hereafter to bed with her the night before. I put down my coffee cup and set aside my iPad. “Come here, sweetheart.”

Lifting her and her stuffed toy onto my lap, I cradled her in my arms for a moment.

“Honey, Jesus lived and died and lived again a long, long time ago. He came to earth from heaven to give us the truth about who we are and whose we are. He taught us what we needed to know about God and how God wants us to behave. His teachings threatened some who, back in those times, had power over people’s lives. So they had him crucified, nailed to a cross, to get rid of him and to warn others not to challenge their authority.”

“So, that’s why we have a big cross in our church, right Opa?”

“Yes, honey. That’s right. The cross is the Christian symbol for Jesus, for what he did for us.”

“And now he is in heaven?”

“Yes, honey.”

“Opa? Where is heaven?”

“Some people think it’s somewhere up in the sky. Others think it’s on another planet, or in a whole different dimension of time and space. But I like to think that, part of it at least, is right here in the human heart.” I said this placing my hand over her heart.

She sat quietly for a time, obviously thinking about everything I had said. Then she said, “Opa, was Jesus brown like me or white like you?”

“Honey,” I said, “nobody knows for sure exactly what Jesus looked like. All we have today are paintings and statues of him that were made by people who lived long after the time of Jesus. These people used their imagination to create images of him, images that looked the way they wanted him to look.”

I picked up my iPad, googled Jesus, and then touched the image option at the top of the screen. Hundreds of pictures appeared for my little darling to see. Some of them were tanned, middle-eastern in appearance. Some were more European looking. Some were dark complexioned with broader features. One was very light complexioned with light brown hair and blue eyes. One was very dark with curly hair. Most had long hair and short beards, but not all.

“People like to think of Jesus as looking like themselves, honey. How would you like him to look?”

My little darling didn’t answer right away. I could tell that she was really thinking hard about this. She looked at image after image of Jesus. Then she said, “I guess it really doesn’t matter what he looked like, Opa. But if he looked like you do, that would be okay with me.”

Published in: on November 14, 2012 at 9:44 am  Comments (7)  

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7 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. THAT is worth reading, sharing and taking to heart! thanks for offering this blessing today!

  2. Great post, I enjoyed reading it.

  3. What a lucky child your “little darling” is to have you as her Opa. Thanks for sharing.

  4. A lucky Opa too :).

  5. Did Jesus die for our sins? I cant find accurate documentation substantially proving that Jesus is the son of god. Being the son of god, was Jesus able to alter the laws of physics? Maybe he was an awesome magician at his time or it could he all hearsay. It seems the christian religion, like other religions, will always beg the question of knowing. Its hard to trust something that cant be proven. Maybe I should go on faith. Or maybe I shouldn’t believe everything I hear and read. What if there is no way of knowing. Seems like an opinion. I guess there is nothing wrong with not believing, since it cant be proven. Hmmm. Well then I guess I should find something more relevant that is worth my time.

  6. Only a fool would argue the existence of God. I doubt sometimes even that which I can see. Like love, faith can be an illusion. But I am happier having both. They give me purpose. And so, even though the object of each may exist only in my mind, I embrace them.

  7. Life is so much more the living with Jesus in it. Love for others abounds and there is a real deep peace that passes all understanding. I’ve lived without Him and with Him and I can’t ever go back even if I struggle with my faith. I would rather live believing in Him and allowing him to change me into the better human being I become each day, make a positive difference to my sphere of influence and when I die find out I was wrong (which I don’t believe I am) than live as I did without him and find out He is real.

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