My son is almost two, and we hear him utter these words multiple times a day—when his LEGO® car falls apart, when his shoe comes untied, or when he smashes a cracker in his hand. Even when we get home and walk into a dark kitchen, he exclaims, “Uh-oh, light broken!”
Most of the time my husband or I can reassure him, “Here, I’ll fix it, buddy,” or “The lights aren’t broken; they’re just off.”
Usually we laugh at his keen observations, but we recognize that—even at such a young age—Elijah is learning a deeper truth of our reality: This is not how things are supposed to be. Everything is broken.
As his mom, my heart aches knowing all the brokenness our son will face in his lifetime—not only around him but also within himself. Our little guy is no less a sinner than the rest of us. I feel the weight of guiding him as he learns to navigate in a world affected by sin, as he struggles to fight against pride and selfishness, and as he tries to understand that even Mommy and Daddy—though we love him so much—will fail him in numerous ways.
At the same time, my heart rejoices. Despite the bad news of our sin, there is such good news to share with him! I am excited and encouraged to point him to a greater reality. Jesus is the Victor. Jesus is going to fix everything—to restore creation. Yes, Elijah, this is not how things are supposed to be. Everything is broken. But we have a wonderful hope. Our future is incredibly bright. Jesus Himself encouraged His disciples, and His words comfort me today: “I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. You will have suffering in this world. Be courageous! I have conquered the world” (John 16:33). I am excited to point him to the gospel and to Jesus.
Though Elijah is not yet ready to respond to the gospel, we will use this guide to help his little mind begin to grasp big truths about the kingdom of God:
God is King. Ask: “Who is in charge at home? Who is in charge over the whole world?” Explain that God made everything! He is King over everything, and He is in charge.
We sinned. Ask: “Have you ever done something wrong?” Tell preschoolers that everyone sins, or disobeys God. Our sin makes God sad.
God sent Jesus. Explain that God must punish sin. He loves us and He sent His Son, Jesus, to earth. Jesus came to take the punishment for our sin.
Jesus loves. Ask: “Do you like presents?” Explain that Jesus gives us the best present. He never did anything wrong, but He was punished in our place. Jesus wants to take away our sin because He loves us.
As you teach kids—at home or in the classroom—fill them with the hope of the gospel. Pray for them. Every night before bed, we ask God to save our son. We can plant gospel seeds in his heart, but God is the One who will grow him into a child who loves and trusts in Jesus.
I imagine Elijah will one day stop exclaiming, “Uh-oh, broken!” every time something isn’t working how it’s supposed to. It probably won’t surprise him anymore. But rather than crumble under despair and cynicism, I pray he would lift his eyes expectantly, knowing that this world is not how God intended it to be. But Jesus came to save us, and He is coming again to make all things new. (Rev. 21:5)
Note: A poster of “The Gospel: God’s Plan for Preschoolers” is available for download as a quarterly resource on The Gospel Project for Kids resources page.
What steps have you taken to introduce your toddlers or preschoolers to the gospel? Have you, as a parent or teacher, been encouraged in any way? Share your thoughts in the comments!