All week, my 11 year old has struggled with the concepts of Free Will and the Omnipotence of God. After all, he has repeatedly asked, how can it be free will if God already knows what we will do? I've been struggling to explain it to him, as it's not something my human brain can easily understand. I've been trying, and praying, and then praying about it some more.
Yesterday, he explained it to himself as he watched me put the 4 year old down for his nap.
"I get the Free Will thing," he announced as he helped me wash the lunch dishes. "It's like when you put #5 down for a nap. You know he's going to get up and run around. You know he's going to play with toys, sing out loud, and get in trouble. You know he's going to do all those things before you even walk upstairs with him, don't you?"
"I do." I replied, waiting to see where we were headed with all of this.
"You also know that he's going to run around at nap time and at night time, but you still keep putting him to bed the same way."
"I used to do that, too, didn't I? The running around stuff?" I nodded at him. "But you just kept putting it in front of me knowing that eventually I would learn how good sleep is and I would do what was right because I had learned from it." (I wish I were that calm, mostly it was the fatigue that made me walk away.)
"You could make him stay in bed," my son continued. "You could tie him there and not let him out until you were ready for it, but he wouldn't learn about sleep and to listen to you, he would learn about being trapped and forced. That wouldn't be love, it would be power........God could force us, too. He could make us do what is right. He could control us like puppets and make us all behave perfectly, but that wouldn't be love either, it would be slavery. He keeps putting the chance to do right in front of us and hoping we'll do the right thing but knowing that most of the time we're just going to run around crazy like #5, right? But He gives us the chance to learn from it, because love is letting you be free..isn't it?...even free to be bad?"
I just hugged him, my mini-scholar. He gets things that baffle adults and makes them so simple in his childlike way.....so easy that even his mom can understand them.