“But, Mommy, I can’t see Him!” I can’t tell you how many times my four-year-old daughter protested this point when we’d have conversations about God. She continued this protest as a five and six-year-old as well. Fair enough. The fact that we can’t physically see or touch God has often felt problematic for adults, too. Leave it to kids to honestly voice their valid questions and concerns as we try to introduce them to the Bible’s story and God himself.
My daughter, who I imagine may one day be an investigative journalist, will not let you off the hook with a simple “We just have to have faith,” or, “Because the Bible says so,” answer to her many theological questions. She will want to know, “But why? How? When?” and she’s not often content with a “Just believe” kind of answer. It’s safe to say she keeps me on my toes!
Introducing kids to who God is, theological concepts, and the story of the Bible can be very intimidating at times. Most of us don’t have a seminary degree, and even if we do, kids will find a way to stump us with their sincere—and oftentimes hilarious—questions.
For example, how do you explain who the Holy Spirit is to a four-year-old?
What Does Scripture Say?
I suppose the obvious question we should ask ourselves first is what does Scripture say?
Jesus told his friends that when he would leave them to go back to Heaven, he’d ask God the Father to “give you another Helper, to be with you forever” (John 14:16). Then, when Jesus was about to ascend back to Heaven, his buddies thought that maybe now Jesus would pull a superhero move: rid the world of all evil and bring his kingdom through a display of his cosmic power through political dominance.
The surprising news for these disciples was that Jesus would show his power, but not in the way they were thinking. This power “you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses [. . .] to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8). This power Jesus referred to is the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit.
So, How Do I Explain This to a Kid?
That’s a glorious truth, but how might we explain the Holy Spirit to the kids in our lives?
Well, what do most kids have in common (along with many grown ups!)? A love for superheroes, of course! An imagination to envision what it’d be like to have a superpower. Watch a child put on his favorite superhero’s costume, and see him transform into a hero full of confidence. Ask a kid what superpower she’d want, and hear her creative juices flowing.
What’s another thing kids (and grownups alike) have in common? Well, sometimes it’s hard to love God and love others! It can be difficult to share toys, to be patient while waiting in line, to forgive when others hurt us.
Here’s my point: our kid’s interests and their struggles are our opportunity to make connections to Scripture for them.
God’s Superpower Helper
As my daughter continued to ask me about the God she can’t see, I began to explain the Holy Spirit to her as God’s superpower Helper.
This became a paradigm shift for her, because she—like we all tend to—can often assume that she must muster up the willpower to change her attitude or behavior. The good news is that our kids don’t have to grow up feeling they have to maintain a performance-based righteousness to be a “good Christian.” Another helper—the Helper—is who they need.
While most superhero stories teach kids that they have all the goods they need to be good, the Bible’s story tells us that God alone has all the goods needed to be called good. But this God, who “is love” (1 John 4:8), sent His very Spirit to live in us. And with love in us, we have 24/7 access to the superpower of God to experience his love for us and display his love to others.
So, yes, we can’t see God, but we can know He’s around. How? The superpower of love.
Quina Aragon is an author, editor, and spoken word poet residing in Orlando, Florida, with her husband and daughter. Her three children’s books—Love Made, Love Gave, and Love Can—poetically communicate the Bible’s storyline through a Trinitarian lens of love. Quina has also contributed chapters to numerous books and has written scripts for two short films. She’s had the privilege of working with Christianity Today, The Gospel Coalition, Risen Motherhood, Harvest House Publishers, and many more. You can find her on Instagram @Quina_Aragon and at her website QuinaAragon.com.
Love Can, the third and final book in the Love trilogy, is available now. Learn more here.