Sunday, June 10, 2012

As little children

Lately the kids in our church have been really shining.  They have surpassed the adults in their passion, their power, their prayer life, their preaching and their potential.  Still, some folk tend to condescend to them, patronize them and diminish their contribution because they are children.  

Yet children are our best teachers of life lessons, of our spiritual relationship with God.  Let me show you.

A small child gets hurt.  Perhaps not physically, but emotionally.  Someone is mean to him or her.  Feelings are extremely breakable - and the child has all the normal reactions of wanting to lash out, wanting to retaliate.  When the parent arrives on the scene, the one who was most deeply hurt inside may hold up his or her arms to the parent, and say, "Uppie."  Talk about melting someone's heart!  But the child understands something the parent might not.  This little one understands that the presence of the parent is enough to salve the tattered, bruised self inside and repair the confidence and trust that has been stolen from him or her. 

And the presence of God does that for us as well.  Perhaps we'd get a little further if we just held up our hands to our Father and said, "Uppie." No requests, no agenda, just being "with." Because "with" heals. 

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A small girl tries very hard to do something and the more she tries, the more frustrating it gets. Let's say it's tying her shoes. Wanting to be grown up and being grown up are two very different things.  Finally, she takes the shoes to the father and says simply, "Daddy do."  She submits to him putting them on the RIGHT feet ... and lets him do what she has asked.  Deftly, he ties the shoes and double-knots them so they won't come undone.  The little girl runs off to play wearing a big thank-you smile.  

If we'd just let God do what is impossible for us (no matter how hard or how many times we've tried we still fail because we don't have the power in ourselves to live that abundant life) - take it all to Him and trust Him to do what's best  (in essence, saying to Him - "Daddy do...") how much better our Christian life would be!  

The above stories are typical ones that could happen to anyone.  Here's one that actually happened one day several years ago.  A mom was driving her little girl from playschool back home.  Almost every night for the previous two weeks, the bedtime story time had included a short story about the life of Jesus and His death and resurrection.  

Suddenly the mom heard her daughter say over and over again a line from the story, "One day Jesus died, and His friends were very sad."  As she listened, she realized that her little girl was actually meditating on the death of Jesus...feeling the sadness the disciples felt.  Meditating simply means to mull over, to fully appreciate, to chew on and digest.  She'd read about it, had even taught others this was what it meant.  This kid was really doing it!

How often had the mom done it? how grateful had she been for the sacrifice Jesus made that history-changing day?? not very!! That little girl taught her to never forget the terrible price that was paid so she could be free. To think about it often.  To remember how deeply she was loved.

Before we condescend, before we minimize what our children are saying, perhaps we'd better sit at their feet and let them teach us.  After all, Jesus Himself took a small child, and sat him in the midst of the crowd and said, "...the kingdom of heaven belongs to people like this." 

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