"I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” From Matt 18:2
Aren’t kids great?
I was thinking this today on the flight home from New Jersey. Seated behind me was a little boy, maybe four years old or so. He was flying alone. The couple sitting next to him was very entertained by his innocent comments and total lack of concern over the turbulence and frequent announcements from the captain.
Meanwhile, toward the front of the plane, a young missionary couple was occupied with their own four young children, on their way to a grand adventure in the Guatemalan mountains. While we checked in, we got to watch the four of them dancing about, excitedly telling anyone who would listen where they were going. They had no fear about sinkholes, volcanoes, or mosquitos; not with their parents protecting them!
I thought back to Thursday, when Yesenia and I visited the home of some old friends. They have a wonderful almost-four-year-old daughter who eyed me a little curiously at first. But the second she saw her father greeting me as a friend, she grasped my other hand and lead me into the house. “Come here!” she commanded and pulled me into the dining area where she had been coloring pictures. “This one’s for you!” If I was okay with dad, I was okay by her.
And I remembered how his daughter and his two-year-old boy crawled all over my friend as we discussed things and shared coffee. No matter how busy or occupied he seemed, they would tug on his shirt and whisper something or just give him a kiss. He was adept at responding to their whims, returning kisses and hugs, finding a bottle, acknowledging their thought without missing a beat of our conversation.
Finally, I thought about the children at my daughter’s wedding last Saturday. They were so well-behaved and respectful. I especially remember how they made a train and danced around with us. And when they saw that their parents were smiling and happy with that, well they couldn’t make enough trains the rest of the evening. Didn’t matter if the adults were cheek-to-cheek or breakdancing, the children continued their trains and delighted the parents all night.
Trusting that we will get through the turbulent times; fearlessly following our parents wherever they take us; accepting and embracing those our father loves; understanding that dads always have time for us; working ourselves to exhaustion to please them… this is how our Father yearns for us to behave. “Change and become like little children!”
Being an adult mandates a certain “maturity” and of course, common sense is a gift from the Holy Spirit. Sometimes these come in handy as we matriculate through our grown-up world. For sure, the police officer writing the accident report isn’t going to be very supportive if we tell him we trusted our Father to get us safely through that intersection against the light.
But sometimes we make the mistake that our accrued knowledge and wisdom is meant to put us in control of every circumstance God throws in front of us. We insist on figuring out every answer on our own. We get aggravated or embarrassed when things don’t go as we expected or planned. We get depressed when we can’t understand why things are happening the way they are.
Life can be much easier and way more fun when we remember that we are children, too. All the wisdom and insight in the world will never change that. Our Father loves us unconditionally. He is there for us always. He wants us to trust that we will get through the turbulence; that he will protect us; that we should love who He loves; that we can always call on Him. He wants us to be happy and dance through life so he can be happy, too.
As I was reminded last week, we can’t help but feel good when we’re dancing. It’s like our gyrations push everything bad away from us, leaving us in the joy of the moment. So let's not waste time waiting for the good songs. Let’s dance through every rhythm and every beat God plays for us. Let’s dance before our Father.