Posted on August 10, 2013
A friend of mine recently moved several states away. We’ve shared many miles together, so it was fitting our last visit before her move was an early-morning run. As we wound our way through a familiar route, our conversation wandered with us. We celebrated the adventure ahead of her family and looked ahead to her next visit to Kansas City. We shared updates on our children, a joyful highlight of many of our conversations. She noted how her perspective had recently been enlightened by her children’s view of a particular event. We talked about it with awe and longing. It reminded me how seeing life through the eyes of a child is a perspective we could all benefit from more often.
“Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” Mark 10:15
“Shall not” are strong, definitive words. Jesus was not making a suggestion on how to receive His kingdom. So, how does a child receive? If you catch them at the right age, children accept with innocence, trust, simplicity, honesty, and full immersion in the moment. They offer smiles unconditionally. Pleasing them doesn’t require much. And, although they sometimes behave as if they’re the center of the universe, they’re humble beings. As the years tick by, however, our world jades our perspective. We learn to judge. Instead of trusting, we tend to doubt unless convinced otherwise. Distractions and responsibilities complicate our existence. Honesty gives way to phony behavior, for the sake of acceptance. We begin to worry about tomorrow instead of living in today, and we consequently exhaust ourselves for tomorrow. And, many of us continue to behave as if we’re still the center of the universe. Just thinking those thoughts wears me out. I realize I’m an adult with blessed responsibilities who is expected to behave maturely, but I want to accept and receive like a child. Why is it so hard when God’s directions are basic and straightforward? Maybe it’s because we have a hard time asking Him for help. Our children ask us for help. Why shouldn’t we take another cue from them and ask God for help? With obstacles of pride, selfishness, and the need for independence and control, it’s challenging to fully trust God with the sincerity of a child. He can help us, however, and we can start by asking. It’s hard to be a grown up, and even harder to do it alone. Perhaps if we let God in more often, our hearts will be lighter, our days simpler, and our existence more “playful” and less worrisome. We are – always have been and always will be – children of God. Let’s live like it.
Dear God, please help us want to receive you like a child and grace us with light, trusting hearts.