My niece has a friend whose son has tumors. At a recent visit to the children’s hospital, they passed by a little girl — 3 years old — surrounded by her stuffed animals.
As my niece wrote on Facebook:
“She was joyfully telling them all how much she would miss them, (saying) goodbye and how much she loved them one by one.”
I stand in awe, bereft of speech, at the sweet innocence and trust of this child. She possesses a wisdom that is far beyond that of many many adults — and it is not that we don’t have the capacity to see, like this little girl does. It’s that, through the years, we have buried the child within us — who represents the core essence of our being — in the words of the world.
The Value of Children
Jesus recognized the value and worth of children. His disciples were more like the rest of us, discounting their importance in the real world, shunting them to the side because they’re noisy and irrelevant. Matthew 10: 13 – 16 tells how people were bringing children to Jesus to be blessed, and the disciples were intervening, sending the children away:
“(Jesus) was indignant. He said to them, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.
“‘I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.’ And he took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them.”
Four Spiritual Laws, or One Savior?
Ask the average American Christian how to get to heaven, and he will mention the Four Spiritual Laws, a series of Bible verses pulled from throughout the New Testament, explaining how all humans are sinners and separated from God; Jesus took the punishment for us; we need to repent of our sins and ask Jesus to save us; and Bingo, we’re saved.
Many Christians repeat the process multiple times throughout their life, generally during church alter calls, because they’re not sure they got it right the first, second, third, or twenty-second time (mea culpa — but no more — true Christianity frees a person from slavery and superstition), and I always wondered,
“If this is the ‘proper’ and ‘official’ way to become a Christian, then why didn’t Jesus lay it out Himself in a series of statements? Why do the verses have to be pulled from throughout the Scriptures?'”
What Jesus Says
Jesus did lay it out, several times, but in His Jesus-y, think-about-this way, and the verse in Matthew is one of them:
“Anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”
Please don’t panic: this verse is meant to be an encouragement, not another obligation, and if you don’t know how to do it, think of the little girl at the head of this article:
She actually believes in heaven. She believes it’s a good place to go. And she’s one of those children that Jesus takes into His arms and holds.
So are you, my friend. At one time, you were a child, and you were vulnerable and defenseless, dependent upon the goodness and wisdom of the adults responsible for your care. Now in our society today, we like to vilify the family unit, calling pretty much everything dysfunctional and holding out our substitutes — government programs and social welfare interference — as the preferred solution, so it’s becoming increasingly difficult to understand what Good looks like, but what it means is this:
The Child in You Is Still There
When you were three years old, you couldn’t take care of yourself, and you needed someone bigger and stronger and wiser than you to ensure that you were fed, clothed, and warm. There was someone, somewhere, you intrinsically trusted to do this for you, and your life was in their hands. (I sincerely hope that those hands were good.)
As a Christian, you are a child of God, and although you are an adult now and know all about paying bills and meeting the property tax obligation and putting groceries on the table, you still need Someone bigger and stronger and wiser than you to ensure that you are fed, clothed, and warm. You gave your life to Him, and He holds it, and you, in His arms — and you can trust that He cares for you, and He cares about you.
His hand ARE good. If you don’t believe me, listen to the little girl.
Thank you for joining me at Commonsense Christianity, where I encourage all of us to look for, long for, seek for Christ’s deep abiding love which He showed to those children, so many years ago. Children are a gift that God has given to a hurting world, to teach and remind us what trust, hope, faith, and joy look like.
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