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"I Wish God was Real, Mommy" A Child's Wish
The True Story
“I wish God was real, mommy.”
Precious Wishes from a Tender Heart
There we were, in the large dark room. We were gathered to watch actors play out imaginary roles of an unreal story. Scores of us, strangers all; all come to have our eyes, ears, and humors entertained.
It was here in this unreal place that I was to hear one of the saddest statements of all my life. It was in this season of make believe men in red and white costumes, of green trees, of supposed giving, of glitz and buying and selling. . . It was then that I heard the most profound wish of all, spoken by an innocent and naive child.
As I watched these actors play out their ridiculous roles, I heard a sincere and gentle child say, “I wish God was real, mommy.”
What was that? What had I heard? I snapped around in the darkness and saw a child of no more than three years cuddled in this mother’s arms.
“I wish God was real.” My heart broke within me. In that moment I could see it all. This young sophisticated mother surely explained to her impressionable child the myths of childhood. She certainly explained about Santa Clause, the tooth fairy, the Easter bunny. And in the list of nice stories made up to make children feel good was included the myth about God. This mother wanted her child to know the truth about these childrens’ tales. Commendable. She did not want her precious child to be disappointed when the truth was discovered. She wanted to disarm the alarm of disappointment that most children feel when they find out the truth of Santa Clause and other child hood lies. Of course, to her, God was just as ridiculous as all the other fairy tales.
Matthew 18:6 “But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and [that] he were drowned in the depth of the sea.”
As the garish actors played out their imaginary roles, I sat there and cried and prayed. For this was not only the saddest wish I had ever heard, but it was even more. It was also the most hopeful wish that I had ever heard. For God showed me in this child a heart tender to know God. Here was a child-like faith that he needed God. And I knew that with a little help, here was a child whose life could be changed by the Gospel. Yes, even children need to be rescued by the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I was when I was five. This child’s curiosity and genuine faith would one day show to his disbelieving family the truth. Yes, God is real.
But that child needs the spiritual help of the Gospel. He is like millions of others just like him or her. I do not even know whether the child was boy or girl. The child still whispers in the dark out there. She cries in her bed to sleep tonight. Or he wanders in the street in dark alleys looking for food. Perhaps, even now the child in need of the gospel suffers a violent beating at the cruel hands on an unbelieving parent that is all too real.
They all secretly cry in their hearts, “I wish that God was real.” Are we ready to break through our laziness and apathy to “suffer the little ones to come unto” the gentle Jesus?
Mark 10:14 “But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.”
by Andrew Grosjean winter 1994