Can you remember when you were a child? Can you remember what it was like to not have a care in the world? When everyone was your friend? When it was so easy to forgive? When the world was completely unknown, and you were able to believe and trust like you would never be let down or hurt? I believe this is the innocence that Jesus points to when He says “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:3)
This is not a call to be “childish” but “childlike.” To be childlike is to have trust and teachableness. It’s to believe our Father God is always good and He will never leave us or forsake us. To also know that in the midst of the worst situation, He will work it all to our good. I was reminded of this innocence recently while reading “The Jesus Storybook Bible” written by Sally-Lloyd Jones and illustrated by Jago (one I highly recommend to any child or parent). While reading one of the stories in this book to my 21 month old (who loves this book and requests it all the time), it began to illustrate how God wants us to “be like children trusting in Him” and receive His love like the gift it is. It’s not earned or deserved, but just received and relished. And I thought to myself; “wow, my little daughter isn’t the one who needs to know this, but I am.” There I was trying to “teach her” how to be like me, when really I should be more like her.
The past couple of weeks have been very challenging and I’ve been guilty of worry and anxiety–as if in some way God would not be the faithful loving Father He has always been and always will be. It was very convicting to read this story to my little one, when she indeed is the picture of what Jesus was pointing to for me to become. To be like a child. Although the week had worries to bring me, they somehow all escaped my daughter. Even teething and sick with a virus, she was joyful, playful, and wanted to just cuddle and watch home videos together. It’s funny how she can be worry free about bills, or where we will live, or what she will eat. And she definitely doesn't ever seem to be concerned or consumed by what people think of her. She is just free. She loves like no one will ever hurt her. She trusts like she won’t be disappointed. And when she senses need, she doesn’t try to just solve it herself; she cries out for help. A thing I find even more convicting (and also I’d think odd for a one year old), is that she always says “thank you daddy” for any little thing I do–even changing her diaper! It really melts my heart.
How our Father God is always there, listening to our every cry! Oh how He knows our every need, even before we call on Him! How he must love our thank you’s (no matter how small it may be). In a study conducted a while ago, adults and children were asked what they would do if Jesus walked in the room right now. The adults all said they would worship, or fall on their faces. The children all said they would run up and hug Him, kiss Him, or hold Him tight. This is what God is after; a relationship. He’s not just looking to just be esteemed and revered; but enjoyed in receiving His love. May we run to Him and let Him pick us up, hug us, kiss us, and put us on His lap to hear all the crazy things we have to say. He’s always listening and never wants to turn us away; but embrace us like a loving Father.
Here’s a great song to enjoy as you remember “When You Were a Child:”