Where is God? Where is Heaven? Questions that matter to me and my three-year-old + a GOD IS HERE screensaver


My son is three and half now, very verbal, and asking big questions:

How did I get out of your belly when I was a baby? ("God made a way, buddy.")
Who's your mom? ("Mamo.")
Why do I have to take a nap? ("Because Mommy needs a nap too.")
Where is God?


  

He asks the last question strapped into his carseat behind me as I drive.

I answer, "Well, God is in heaven."

"Where is heaven?"

"Heaven is um, where God lives. Well . . . God is in us too."

"You mean God is in my belly?" (This is super funny to him).

Way to reveal a fundamental gap in my theology, bud.

Thankfully, I was reading the chapter The Divine Conspiracy** about the nature of God, the location of heaven, and . . . where God is.

Willard explains that in an Old Testament of understanding God's nature, heaven is where God is and reigns, and that God has always been HERE and available to us, with us. Heaven is actually here, not in a distant, strange place.

This misunderstanding has profound consequences for our faith. Willard writes,
"The damage done to our practical faith in Christ and in his government-at-hand by confusing heaven with a place in distant or outer space, or even beyond space, is incalculable. Of course God is there too. But instead of heaven and God also being always present with us, as Jesus shows them to be, we invariably take them to be located far away and, most likely, at a much later time--not here and not now. And we should then be surprised to feel ourselves alone?"
He argues that to understand God's location, alternately sometimes we say that he is "in our hearts," but there are problems with that explanation too. Willard writes,
"'In my heart' easily becomes 'in my imagination' . . . . This ill-advised attempt to make God near by confining him to human hearts robs the idea of his direct involvement in human life of any sense. Ironically it has much the same effect as putting God in outer space or beyond."
So, I have begun to remind my children that God is Spirit, but that doesn't make him less real. He is just as real as your own spirit, the part of you that makes you who you are, but that no one can see. This is the part of you that lives on when you die. This the part of you that God makes alive by His Spirit and cannot die thereafter.

I have begun to remind them that God is right here, as close as the air they are breathing in.

When I am afraid, when a child is afraid, the issue of God's location makes all the difference. Is he way off in heaven looking down, or his next to us?

“In him we live and move and have our being" Acts 17:28

"But for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord GOD my refuge, that I may tell of all your works." Psalm 73:28 ESV

It's amazing to think that the God of the Old Testament was already near, but in Jesus, God takes his nearness to a whole new level.

“'Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel' (which means, God with us)". Matthew 1:23

From the 25 Days of Advent Joy Printable Set (now in the shop!)
Today, I'm sharing this phone screensaver to remind you where God is and where he reigns. There is a version in Spanish and English this time for my Spanish-speaking friends! To download, click the image below and save to your device!*

            

PRAYING the Word
God remind me in my sadness, my fear, and my need that you are near. Remind me that you are not confined to my heart, nor are your confined to the outer limits of space. You are here, just where you've always been since creation--working, reigning, bringing glory to yourself. And nothing in all creation will separate me from you.

QUESTIONS to consider:
1. What do you think of as God's location?
2. How might a more accurate view of God's location influence your faith and feelings?

*I'm so happy for you to enjoy my coloring pages and printables for your personal (not commercial) use! Use for Bible studies, church groups or events, and Sunday school classes are all fine! If you're in doubt, I'm happy to answer any questions. All artwork and photos are copyright Marydean Draws. If you share this, you're awesome (!), and as a courtesy,  please link back to this post and not the PDF file. Thank you!!

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