Are you afraid of God?

376897_10100575891720263_1472827605_nSometimes my daughters let me sleep in, while they get themselves breakfast (and make a mess in the process), and then, as I slowly wake up, I overhear strange conversations between them at the breakfast table. This one’s from this morning:

Annalise (3yrs): <laughing to herself about something, probably a game she’s found to play with her fingers, or a story she’s telling herself in her head>

Claire (6yrs): <Doesn’t understand why Annalise can be so happy sometimes, and hence, feels a little threatened by it> Annalise, are you afraid of ANYTHING?

Annalise: <answers with complete confidence> No.

Claire: Are you even afraid of GOD?

Annalise: No. I love God.

Claire: <takes on an authoritative, teacherly, and you’re-in-trouble voice> Annalise, did you know the Bible says you’re supposed to be afraid of God? That means you’re BAD.

Annalise: What? Why should I be afraid of God? <worried tone>

Claire: <lowers her voice, making it sound ominous> He could make the entire world DISAPPEAR if He wanted to. That’s why!

Annalise: <begins to cry>

Claire: That’s why you can’t just be happy all the time. <satisfied>

Annalise: <still crying, runs to my room, jumps in bed, cuddles up close with worried expression on her face, and looks into my eyes> Mommy, Claire says God’s BAD. But…..   ! <cries more>

Me: Oh, sweet girl! God’s not bad. He loves you so much! <now I’m feeling frustrated with Claire, because I know she knows what “fear of God” really means, and that she’s twisted the meaning to make Annalise afraid>


Then a long, but important, theological discussion transpires, with Annalise first, and then Claire, about God. About what the different meanings of “fear of God” might be, and which ones make sense for a loving God. Thus, the day begins.


  • Amazing! What a fantastic opportunity to lead your sweeties into truth..

    I’ve been afraid of God,’cause mom always said “you never know what God is going to do..” tho’ I’m sure she meant it positively, when I observed the horrors and stresses she experienced as a missionary wife..unbelievable physical suffering..from severe allergies, to a broken wrist to a broken tail bone, the death of two babies.. twins..loneliness.. excruciating stuff.. dumping her children at boarding school for 9.5 months of each year, for 9-10 years straight..all with dad at the helm..and he never did anything to alleviate her pain and suffering.. and wondered why she screamed her distress at him most of the time..chaos..unheard distress.. and ..G*d did it; and this was our “home”.

    This truth is vital to children..that is, that God is not out to GET I was taught.
    I am SO GLAD that this is forefront at such a young age.

    Vivian R Palmer HarveyJuly 29, 2013
    • Thank you for the encouragement Vivian!

      ChristiJuly 29, 2013
  • Yeah, wow.

    Elisabeth MJuly 29, 2013
  • Does this ever resonate…from childhood to now…doesn’t get more existential

    Dennis LitkaJuly 29, 2013
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