If you've ever had the incredible experience of walking through a nursing home with very young children, you know what an unforgettable scene that is. The sound of their little voices and the appearance if those innocent faces draws the elderly residents out of their rooms faster than a fire alarm. This is a sound that makes their heart jump. They just want to see, and if at all possible, get the attention of the 'little people'.
The joyful noise of a small child tugs at their heart strings more intensely than almost any other sound. Why ? Because small children have a beautiful way of showing us what innocence looks like. A very young child looks at us without judgment, reminding us of the simplicity of life in all of its wonder.
What's even more heart-grabbing is the meeting between two little ones who have never had the pleasure of each other's company before. It's amazing how they KNOW that this is another little person, and that they have a lot in common. Whether related or not, previous acquaintances or total strangers, they are drawn to each other by their innocent curiosity and familiar responses from one another. It's an incredible teaching moment for us adults, who tend to make at least 10 judgment calls about another adult before we even speak to them!
As children we were mesmerized by the way a babbling brook ran between the rocks and found
its way out to the open pond. There were tons of great finds in that water, and nothing more fun than a lively toad who was up for the chase. As youngsters, we couldn't resist testing out new theories with bubble gum, (how big can we blow a bubble with THREE pieces of gum?), or chalk, (why doesn't it taste like the peppermints that grandpa had?), or magic markers, (they wrote soooo smoothly on solid surfaces like walls and windows!).
Oh, to have the joy and freedom of a little child.....
"Let the little children come to Me...." Luke, Chapter 18, verse 16.
Why does God ask me to be like a little child ? First we must make the distinction between being childish, or being like a child. God is not asking me to be spoiled, or childish, in demanding what I want or being impatient. He is not encouraging me to be lazy in the use of my talents, or pretend I am unaware of His requests in carrying out His will.
Then what IS He asking of me?
Jesus wants me to come to Him in the same way a small child runs to their loving parent, bringing all of my struggles, my tears, my anxious moments, and even my anger. He wants me to bring Him every victory of the day, every joy that made my heart leap, and all of my hopes and dreams for tomorrow. He wants me to depend on Him with the same abandonment that a two year old encounters when they jump into daddy's waiting arms. The small child doesn't stop and ask their father if he's going to catch them. They run and jump - because they KNOW that he will !
Little children don't stop and weigh the fact that they are dirty and should go clean up before they jump into mummy's lap. Their desire to please mom and dad isn't an afterthought, but a focal point for much of what they do. They don't hold onto anger, or wait to forgive someone after a specified amount of time. With so innocent a heart, their forgiveness is instantaneous. Their openness to love is unconditional - never measuring the consequences of what that love will cost.
My most beloved brothers and sisters in Christ, let us pray to have the heart of a child, the joy of a child, the fearlessness of a child, and the innocence of a child - approaching Jesus without any reservations....
"Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it." Mark, Chapter 10, verse 15.