So my youngest daughter, age 6, is slightly obsessed with fairy stories. These tend to have the same banal plot and unfortunately the current series seems to be infinite. I am increasingly grateful for the fact that she can now read them herself…
Of course this kind of book includes many references to magic. I will not tell her not to read them, for the same reason my son has been allowed to read Harry Potter. For a start if one is not ‘in the world’ one cannot possibly understand the ways of the world, so avoiding all things slightly contraversial is not all that helpful in my opinion. Anyway if I tell them they can’t read them they will jst want to even more and probably do so behind my back. And above all I want them to be informed, I want them to know that whilst these are stories, there is an element of truth in the talk of magic and spells, and to be aware of what that means.
But with that approach comes the endless questions, especially from no.3 who is very spiritual and always asking questions about Jesus, heaven, angels etc. One of these that has come up before (and again today) is how Jesus can heal or perform miracles.. todays conversation something like this:
-Mum, God is magic, right?’
– Well, erm no actually darling… (thinking ‘oh no have I got time for this conversation’)
– But how did he heal the blind man then? (uh-oh here we go…)
– well, because he is all powerful and in authority over all things..
– but not magic… (help me Lord…)
– well the thing is when we talk about magic it reminds us of things that God doesn’t like, like witchcraft and sorcery …
– why not?
Anyway the conversation went on… covering OT sacrifice according to a 6 year old (she was spot on actually), world leaders, obeying God because we love him, why Jesus died and various miracles…
I am exhausted! (but very happy..)
One of my difficulties here is that in the books my kids read, magic is a force for good and explaining why it isn’t good is not always easy. Todays conversation was actually really interesting, we talked about everything being under Gods authority so when he commands something to be healed, it is. It has to obey. Sadly we don’t always use this authority in the right way or as God would want, so we don’t always see people healed when we pray.
I love that my daughter has all these questions but sometimes (well quite often…) I just can’t explain the answer because I just don’t know! I love our conversations because I love that she wants to know more; and I love them because so often she challenges me in what she asks; and I love that in our family it is perfectly normal to ask about this kind of thing, something that many adults would struggle to even consider.
So, in answer to her question, God isn’t magic but he is very powerful. I think this is the short answer…