Can Waldo help us find God?

My daughters loved Where’s Waldo? books. Every page contains a busy scene—people everywhere and lots of visual activity. Somewhere, tucked into the hustle and bustle of every page, hides Waldo. Although it should be obvious, his red and white-striped hat blends in surprisingly well, and it’s easy to overlook him. My girls enjoyed the challenge of finding the little guy and answering the question, where’s Waldo?

More than anything else, I want my children to love God. I think you do, too. As believers, we recognize that education, success, or money isn’t the key to a rich and full life. Knowing, loving, and serving God is.

This is why the spiritual training of our children is so important. But it’s difficult. In some ways, the spiritual life is the opposite of the physical life, and therein lies the challenge. Spiritual truths seem intangible and difficult. It’s sometimes hard for a child to wrap his mind around the concepts of God’s omniscience (that he knows everything), omnipotence (that he’s all-powerful), and omnipotence (that he is everywhere) when he can’t see, hear, or feel him. Like Waldo, God often appears hidden to our children’s eyes. 

So how do we help them understand that God is alive, active, and involved in our world? Like Waldo, we have to search for him and point him out. We can’t assume our children get it. What’s obvious to us isn’t obvious to them. Remember, they are literalists. If they can’t see it, feel it, taste it, or smell it, they might struggle to believe it.

Here are some suggestions for helping your children (and young adults, and older adults) see God in the hustle and bustle of our world:

1.  Whenever something good comes into their lives, point them to its source. James 1:17 tells us “every good and perfect gift comes from above, coming down from the father of lights.” Example: “Today has been such a beautiful day. Hasn’t God given us a good gift?”

2.  Whenever they accomplish something, remind them that God gave them the ability to do it ( “What do you have that you haven’t received?” 1 Cor. 4:7). Stop to thank him.

Example: “You played that piano piece so well. I’m glad God put music in your fingers. Thank you, God, for helping John play such beautiful music.”

3.  Point out God in creation. Romans 1 tells us that creation’s purpose is to declare God.

Example: “Isn’t it amazing how God gave rabbits strong hind legs so they can run away from predators? And I love the way how he placed sonar in dolphins so they can find schools of fish to eat. God’s pretty creative, isn’t he?”

4.  Acknowledge when God answers prayer.

Example: One family I know keeps a prayer journal. Once a week they share prayer requests. Mom writes the requests in the journal, and the family prays over the needs. Whenever God answers a prayer, they highlight the entry in the journal. On New Year’s Eve, they review the long list of answered prayers and thank God for his work on their behalf. Seeing page after page of answered prayers is powerful evidence of God’s intimate, personal involvement in their lives.

These are a few examples of how we can demonstrate to our children that God is alive, real, and active. I’m sure you have a few ideas of your own. Like Waldo, we know God is always present. Our job as Christian parents is to help our children see him.

How to you help your children understand that God is real? Leave a comment below—I’d love to hear your thoughts. 

If you enjoyed this post, you might like "Does Everything Have to Be About God?" 

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  1. Lori, these point here do work.
    I called them "teachable moments" when our daughter was young. Now that she is a mother, I've seen her do the same with her sons.
    Thank you for the reminder and thank you for giving young mothers these tips. They are a gift to her and her family.

    Teach on!

    1. Isn't it affirming, Carolyn, to see the good things we built into our children's lives reproducing themselves to the next generation? God is so good!

  2. This is the perfect answer to what I have been looking for! Your ideas will be used immediately to make God's goodness part of the time I spend with my grandchildren. When they are here, expecting only fun, I struggle for ways to bring up the topic. Now I know what to say. We will have fun and give credit where it is due also!

    1. Well said, J. Your grandchildren are very blessed to have a grandma who loves God and wants them to love him too!

  3. In addition to being great for kids, these sound like great ways to integrate references to our faith into conversations with neighbors, friends, and coworkers who don't know Christ.

  4. What a great idea--the family prayer journal, Lori! I'm going to have to suggest that to my family. And I agree, these are great ways to remind our children (and ourselves) of God's love and involvement in our lives. Thanks for sharing your great wisdom here, my friend!

  5. Thanks again for a thought provoking post, Laurie.