Like a Little Child
Sometimes, God just does really cool things. I think my 8 year old daughter would agree. In my home, there are five children. The oldest 3 are teens, the 4th is only months away from being "teen-age-r-y" (a Bill Cosby word we like) and the youngest . . . is 8. While her 4 older siblings are busy with college finals, or their jobs, or learning to drive, she spends her time searching for someone - anyone - to join her in "Barbie" land.
Then, it happened. A few months ago, into our neighborhood, directly across the street from us, a new family moved in. A made-to-order family that my daughter, I feel certain, prayed for. They are a homeschooling group (like us), with 5 kids (like us), with 4 older kids doing the college-teenager-job-driving things (like us), and (are you ready?) one, heaven-sent, last born, Barbie-toting, no one to play with, daughter! Fast-forward a few weeks . . . the two Barbie queens are inseparable and must be torn apart, every evening, via the 'jaws of life'. It's a beautiful thing. And no one will ever convince my daughter that God did not place that family across the street specifically for her. She has no problem believing that her very busy God changed all sorts of circumstances in schools and the housing market just to accommodate her heartfelt desire for someone to play with. To her, it is perfectly reasonable that God would move heaven and earth to meet her need. In her innocence, that's what she thinks real love from a Great Big God looks like. So did I - as a child. And most likely, so did you. But today, we'd be a little hard-pressed to find an adult who is excitedly, expectantly, waiting on a miracle.
My question is, when, and more importantly, why did we stop believing in a big God who would consider our needs important enough to warrant a miracle of some sort? When did we cease believing that we were the Apple of His eye? At what point did we begin to see Him as smaller and less interested in us? Do we think that the problems of the world have become too much of a load for Him, so that now He only has time for truly desperate situations? Has He changed the rules for dishing out Divine attention? Are the Barbie queens monopolizing all of His time? Something or someone - somewhere - has changed. I think we might need to consider that it's us.
Some would say that the only reason children find it easier to believe in miracles is that they just don't understand the obstacles in life that make miracles "impossible". Though that is true, another reason they believe so freely is that they just don't concern themselves with the particulars of how God is gonna pull off a miracle. The details aren't theirs to worry about. They simply ask and then wait - expectantly peering around every corner - just knowing that God is busy working things out - just for them.
Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive and accept and welcome the kingdom of God like a little child does, positively shall not enter it at all. (Mark 10:15 Amplified)
God is so specific and purposeful with His words. He knew all about the attributes of a child when he suggested that we should believe like one. Yet as a first-born, type-A personality, I sometimes (often) struggle with the simplicity of that suggestion. "Childlike" implies irresponsibility to me. Yet, to God, it implies absolute trust. The phrase "Like a little child" ignites images of messy, time-consuming mistakes. But Father God is patient with, and even uses our messes and mistakes to demonstrate His unending love and compassion.
Young children won't give away one moment - of today - being anxious about tomorrow or next year because, in their minds, today is all there is. It's as far as they can see. Poor planning skills? Nope. Just absolute faith in someone bigger, someone with experience and wisdom, someone whose love they've never considered doubting.
Of course there is no escaping the fact that we all grow up and catch glimpses of "real life". Our ability to believe in what we can't see or explain - slowly slips away - even without our realizing it. Our child-like tendency to believe God for things that are "impractical" and "impossible" fades as we gain confidence in our own proficiency. It's just what happens.
I'm guessing that God knew that we would get a little confused as we 'grew up'. I think He knew we'd struggle a little trying to find a balance between the on-coming maturity and remaining innocent and wide-eyed in our relationship with Him. He knew. And so, He reminds us . . .
"Like a little child."
What if we asked Him to help us remember what childlike trust, in a Great Big God, looks like and feels like again?
"And be constantly renewed in the spirit of your mind - having a fresh mental and spiritual attitude." (Ephesians 4:23 Amplified)
What a great time of year to consider it. What an incredible gift to our Savior as we celebrate His coming to us! The gift of renewed faith in Him . . . like a little child.
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All Things Work Together