Ellery’s Prayer, Childlike Faith, and Hobbies on the New Earth
My long-time friend Barry Arnold, one of the pastors at Cornerstone Church, shared this video of his 4-year old granddaughter Ellery. After a conversation with her dad Brian, Barry’s son and also my friend, Ellery prays for a member of their church, April, who was a youth leader at Cornerstone and a professional photographer, and who recently went to be with Jesus.
I was touched by Ellery’s prayer, and I think you will be too.
Thank you, Ellery, for encouraging us with your prayer! If we enjoy hearing our children and grandchildren pray, how much more does God love to hear the prayers of His children. When Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it” (Luke 18:17), He showed how much He values childlike faith and trust in Him.
I’m also reminded that our children’s instinctive grasp of Heaven—and what we should look forward to there—is sometimes better than ours. (Christoplatonism hasn’t gripped them yet.) When Ellery says that April is still taking pictures, one of her favorite activities, in Heaven, I think she’s on to something, even if it might be delayed to the resurrection and life on the New Earth. Because most of our hobbies aren’t inherently sinful (if any are, we should give them up now), we have every reason to believe that the same activities, games, skills, and interests we enjoy here will be available on the New Earth, with many new ones we haven’t thought of.
In my book Heaven for Kids, I say this about the question of arts and entertainment in Heaven:
Do you like a good movie or play? Maybe you enjoy painting or drawing. Believe it or not, God invented art. He created the universe, then wrote, directed, and took the leading role in history’s greatest story. (It’s called the Drama of Redemption.) He is the one who gives artists and writers the kinds of minds and emotions and physical senses that give them their ideas.
Will we find ways to use the arts—including drama, painting, sculpture and music—to praise God? Will these arts continue to provide enjoyment and entertainment for people? I believe the answer is yes.
Think of the joy you feel when you make a card for your mom or grandpa, or when you draw a cartoon just to make your brother Zachary smile.
Or consider how you might feel if you and your cousins Ainsley and Hudson wrote and performed a skit at a family reunion. Then think about how awesome it would be to create something even better on the New Earth. Maybe a great play written by Savannah, starring her sisters Ellie and Julia and her cousins Bailey, Sawyer, and Sydney.
If we believe New Earth (Heaven) will be greater than our present Earth, then surely the greatest books, dramas, and poems are yet to be written. Authors will have new ideas and better ways of thinking. Awesome books, including exciting adventure stories, are just waiting to be written by Courtney and Camber. (And people will be eager to read them.) Mckinzie might paint beautiful landscapes. Christian might make sculptures, and Elena might fashion beautiful jewelry. Alexis and Spencer might compose and perform great songs, and maybe Logan will be the featured drummer.
I look forward to reading and perhaps writing books that describe how wonderful God is, helping me worship him better. And I’m eager to read about adventures you and others will be enjoying throughout the New Universe. I’d also like to see your plays and paintings of those adventures.