Sitting on the beach playing with my twenty-two-month-old grandson, I was overwhelmed by God’s goodness.
This is a baby who was prayed for long before he was even conceived and who came into the world with much trauma. Just before his birth I had also experienced trauma with my back injury and surgery. Now the two of us can sit together on the beach and play for hours. I felt so strongly that God is good.
With my heart overflowing, I said aloud, “God is so good, little one. He has blessed me so much by you.”
His immediate response was, “God is good.”
I was startled and then even teary eyed as he repeated it over and over. At this point he had spoken very few sentences in his life.
Obviously, a little one knows when he has hit on something that pleases an adult. So he said it probably a dozen times, and I repeated it with him, as we continued to play. My joy increased.
But what surprised me just as much was his saying it hours later, while he was eating and listening to the adults talk. His mother was talking about something great that had just happened, unrelated to him.
Our toddler’s nonchalant “God is good” surprised us all.
It is so true in general and fit perfectly as a commentary on the conversation. Even though his mother had not mentioned God in that particular conversation, she tells him regularly about God’s love for all of us. She has taught him to add into their prayers together people and things he is thankful for.
He is learning—before he can fully talk—both the goodness of God and the reality of Jesus Christ in his life. It amazes me how God works in our children before we can even know they understand.
We know that adults sometimes come to know Jesus through sudden commitments and radical changes in their lives. But children—and even most adults—usually come to know Jesus gradually, a bit at a time. We have no idea how early they come to know the reality of Jesus Christ in their lives.
My dad—a church planter—always said most people come to faith in Jesus sort of like the opening of a rose. As we come to most relationships. Some people fall into a “It feels like we’ve known each other for years” relationship, but most develop friendships gradually over time.
So it is with our walk with Jesus.
Though we know that “God is good” from the mouth of a toddler is not a dramatic conversion experience like that of Saul of Tarsus, we know it shows God is working. It also shows the importance of little comments we make around them without much thought.
As our late Pastor Norm Meyer said repeatedly, even on the day he told the congregation he was dying of bone cancer, “God is good, all the time. All the time, God is good.”