Dear Dr. Bill,
My 9-year-old granddaughter recently lost a grandparent on the other side of the family. Now she is asking me questions about death and whether her deceased grandmother has become her “guardian angel.” Unfortunately she lives far away from us in a non-Christian home. What do you suggest we do?
I appreciate the fact that you love your granddaughter so much and are concerned for her spiritual welfare. I would encourage you to talk to her about God’s truth, unless for some reason her parents strenuously object.
Since she lives in a home where faith isn’t important, you may be a powerful influence in her life. In fact, you may be the only connection she has to Jesus.
Do the best you can to maintain and strengthen your relationship with her. Since she lives far away, that will involve regular phone calls and e-mails. Try to visit her whenever you can, and invite her to spend more extended time with you and your wife during the summer months.
If you build a strong relationship that is characterized by love, affirmation, and good communication, your words about the Lord will hold a lot more weight. Also, make sure to “walk your talk.” As she enters the teenage years, it’s critical that you model what it means to be an authentic, transparent follower of Christ.
In helping her deal with her other grandparent’s death, keep your discussion of spiritual principles simple. You might explain that the Bible tells us that if we believe in Jesus, pray to him, and are honest about our faults, he promises to give us eternal life.
Even though our physical bodies may get sick and die, we will continue to live with Him in heaven, and someday we will have brand-new bodies that will never get sick or die.
Thanks for writing, Mike. If you have a question for me about family issues or Christian living, click the “Questions” link on the Culture Connection page.