It's funny how children will take bits and pieces of their limited knowledge and knit them together into their own version of "reality".
Last weekend, we took five-year-old Nolan to Ottawa for a special weekend away with Papa and Mommy'sMum. When we asked him where he would like to go, he chose "Ottawa" over all other offers, including Niagara Falls, Agawa Canyon, Science North, and various other adventures. He hears a lot about "the government" in his household, and maybe that was the attraction. He has a dad that half jokingly blames any and all of his financial woes on having to pay the government so many taxes, and a mom who does her best to clean up any wrong perceptions by explaining that the tax money daddy has to pay doesn't just go to "the government", but is used to build highways and hospitals and parks.
When we arrived in Ottawa, the first thing Nolan wanted to see was "the government". So we took him to Parliament Hill. The lineup to tour the inside was long so we just wandered around the grounds. He was especially intrigued with the fountain, out of the centre of which sprouts the "eternal flame". He peered down into the water and asked me why there was money in the fountain.
Nolan asked if he could throw some money in too, but even though we spoiled him thoroughly all weekend, I was glad I didn't have any change to give him and could say "no" with good reason. I certainly didn't expect him to understand, but I couldn't resist drawing attention to the irony of his idea. "I give the government enough money already without throwing it in a fountain for them."
Upon arrival home a few days later, his Mom and Dad asked him about his trip. With shining blue eyes he recounted the highlights of his great adventure.
"I saw the government!" he exclaimed, referring to the Parliament buildings. He was wide-eyed with wonder as he continued. "They're rich!" he said, as his mommy nodded with understanding. She was waiting for him to tell her how he had visited the Canadian Mint, or The Currency Museum, but he had something else on his mind.
"You know where they keep their money?" he asked. "In a fountain!"
We all, of course, erupted in laughter at his childish misperception.
I imagine Father God has many moments of laughter as we, his children, try to piece together our bits of understanding as to who he is and what he is about. Nolan did his best at putting two and two together and figuring out in his mind how it all fits, but his perspective was just far too limited to come out right. I wonder how often we think we've got God all figured out when really our perspective is just too limited to come to any real understanding of what he's all about.
It's got me thinking, anyway.