Sunday, March 9, 2014

Becoming a child again


  Years ago, I had the pleasure of helping raise three little girls. There were mornings where I believed waking up that much crazy at one time was as risky as stirring a hornets nest with a short stick...on crutches. You really never know what mood you were going to arouse as they arose. But as they got past being sleepy-heads and began the day, the wonder found in their innocence and perspective remains within me - I was once like that.  Looking back, it is the wide open eyes of those beautiful little girls that I reflect upon today. The way they saw and soaked in the world without prejudice or restraint - these kids would believe pretty much anything I told them, which brings me to my story.

   I had just bought an almost new car, and it had every option one could imagine. Now on the steering wheel, there were controls for the radio - volume, changing the stations and so on. The kids did not know this. They were just happy I played their favorite  songs and tried to sing along with them wherever we went. So I devised a plan to trick them - I would be the only step-dad alive who had complete mind control over the radio. The first time I told them I could turn the radio off with my powers (and by powers, I mean using my thumb and turning the radio off manually whilst making a face that looked of epic concentration) the reaction was absolute shock, excitement and in some regards, terror.  The next week or so, wherever we went, my powers increased.  I was able to change the station, turn the volume up and down at will, I was a mad man now. They were convinced that this phenomena was real, and that I could do anything with my radio controlling mind.  The fun that was being a super hero came to an absolute screeching halt the day we got a call from the school. Apparently, one of the girls was trying to convince the class, including the teacher, that her step dad had powers, and she was crying and well beyond upset that they did not believe her. I can't remember which was tougher; convincing the teacher I was a real innovator, or telling the girls I was a liar. Regardless, I never took advantage of that innocence again.

  I ran across Matthew 18:2 this morning:  "And He called a child to Himself and set him before them, and said, "Truly I say to you, unless you turn around and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.  "Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.…" Cross referenced with Mark 10:15, the point that Christ was making begins to take shape: "Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it."  The unwavering faith children put into the words spoken from the ones that they trust - this is the kind of faith and trust that Our Lord wants from us. I ask myself today, am I putting my absolute faith and reliance in the words of my Lord? Am I receiving his admonition as a child, without question? Children here are the perfect example of what qualities Christ was trying to find in his followers: teachable, simple, humble and malleable. It is the ones who can lower themselves as though they do not know anything who are positioned to receive the truth about Christ and his Kingdom. It goes against our better judgement to not test and try what we see and hear as adults against what we have come to believe as truth. However, the seasons of refreshing that he wants for us in our lives today requires that we lower our otherwise worldly thinking when it comes to his word, and receive his kindly yoke without restraint. I love the simplicity of this truth found at Jeremiah 17:7  "But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him.How can we be blessed by this kind of faith? It is this simple..."This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us." (1 John 5:14). He hears us because we listen to him. That is not too complicated.

  Walking in the ways of our Lord requires that we receive him completely. It is the only yoke that we can assume that lightens our way, instead of adding to our burdens. We take upon ourselves the honor of what it means to be in His love and of His Kingdom by listening to his voice, and we are in turn blessed in that he listens to us in our needs. This is the definition of a perfect relationship, and that is what he wants with his children.