Matthew 18:2-4 – Jesus called a small child over to Him and put the child among them. Then He said, “I assure you, unless you turn from your sins and become as little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven. Therefore, anyone who becomes as humble as this little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.”
My husband and I both have family in town, and consider ourselves fortunate that the in-laws get along so well. Last year, we hosted the Thanksgiving feast, with my parents and Mike’s mother. We eat around two, so we can be all wrapped up with the gluttony by the time the Cowboys kick off.
Two o’clock, of course, is right smack in the middle of naptime for my two small children, and that makes for a long day. By the time the game hit the fourth quarter, my son, who’d been whining and grumpy since 2:30, was in quite a state. So I pulled him onto my lap, rubbed his back, and tried to soothe him. It took about ten seconds for him to sigh and snuggle in.
“Isn’t that sweet?” My mother said. “He just needed you.”
“It’s so simple to be a child,” she continued. “They haven’t learned how to worry yet, they truly just live in the moment.” I turned and looked at her. “You’re right,” I said, impressed by her wisdom. “I wonder when that kicks in.”
“I’m not sure,” she answered. “But children Nick’s age don’t have the capacity to contemplate the future like we do. They just live on a moment by moment basis, trusting that their mommy and daddy will meet their needs.” Wow.
Her words rattled around in my head all night, and they resurfaced the next morning, shortly after I opened my prayer journal and put pen to paper:
My mom made such an interesting point yesterday, Lord: how we, as children, don’t have the capacity to worry. How perfect that You tell us that, to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, we must be reborn, and come to You with the faith of a child.
I want to be honest with you; the idea of “childlike faith” has puzzled me through the years. I thought it meant parking our brains and blindly believing in Jesus like children believe in Santa Clause. But as I continued to write and seek God’s wisdom, He spoke to me:
Daughter, I don’t want you to suspend your intellect…on the contrary…I gave it to you. Look at your two beautiful children, both gifts from me. What is the word they use more than any other? “WHY?” They cling to you, feel safe with you, and they believe, above all else, that you and Mike can fix everything. Cling to me. Seek me. Ask me. Rest in me, as your children rest in you.
God wants us to seek Him; He invites us to question Him! Jesus says, in Matthew 7:7, “Keep on asking, and you will be given what you ask for.” There are several words in the Greek for “ask.” One is punthanomai, which means to ask or inquire; it implies casually seeking information. The word used in this text, though, is aiteó. Pronounced ahee-teh’-o, it means to ask and keep on asking, to ask continuously. It is the same word used for beg, crave or deeply desire. Imagine a small child, pulling on their father’s pant leg, “Why, daddy? Why can’t I go? Why?” To put it simply, God is inviting us to pester Him.
The notion that God is removed from us and watches from a distance is completely inaccurate. One of His many names is Immanuel, meaning “God with us.” Psalm 37:22 says, “The steps of the godly are directed by the LORD. He delights in every detail of their lives (emphasis mine).” He desperately desires a relationship with you, and wants you to seek Him: “In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me in earnest, you will find me when you seek me. I will be found by you,” says the LORD (Jeremiah 29:12-14a).”
I was watching my children play the next day. (more…)