I don’t know about you, but it seems to me that from time-to-time, we all “miss the boat” when it comes to viewing children the way God does. Do you remember reading how the disciples wondered why Jesus would bother with the children — how they tried to keep these less “worthy” or bothersome individuals from Jesus? No wonder, right?! I mean kids are noisy. They are embarrassing at times. Kids are inefficient with their time. They make messes. They negatively reflect us. I bet there were a number of parents that told their kids to stay in the back of the crowd and to be quiet and to put on their best behavior so Jesus would be impressed (with their parenting skills). As the hours passed and the children grew restless, tired, and hungry, I bet the adults started to grumble, to whisper, and to make disparaging remarks. I bet there were comparisons going on — among the parents present. Parents were probably trying to compare how well their kids did, would have done, or were doing under the same circumstances. The children continued to do what children do — play noisily, remind their parents that they were hungry, make messes, and fall asleep. Yet, Jesus seemed to be more impressed with the children than with the adults. The irony of it all! Those who were trying to impress didn’t. Those who weren’t, did.
What did impress Jesus concerning the children? He mentions their faith. Children have the ability to love without hypocrisy. They trust without doubting. They are transparent, unreserved, vulnerable. It is their passions that reveal our own. It is their transparency that reflects back to us what is in our own hearts: our own sins that we guard so closely.
Children are inconvenient for these reasons. They create waves in our well-ordered days. They create messes in our orderliness. Theycreate chaos in our quiet. Yet… Jesus said, “Do not forbid them!” In fact, He commanded us to become like them… to be transparent, trusting, vulnerable, and unreserved in our devotion to Him. Jesus in one simple sentence peels back the protective layers we have built around our hearts to reveal what is in them.
Perhaps, this is why our society perceive children as a burden. We try to limit them, forestall them. We feel they are better in small “doses.” Horrors if we should have more than the quota or closer together than the formulas our professors have calculated is best for spacing! What a bother if we should be inconvenienced by them! We want them in our timing, in our spacing, in our numbers! Yet in a twist of irony, God sometimes intervenes and “messes” things up a bit, letting us know He is in control. This doesn’t mean we don’t make decisions that we feel God is leading us to make and that are best for His leading for our family. What it does mean is that our hearts should be treasuring one of the greatest gifts that God has given to us: the gift of life that enters so vulnerably, so beautifully, so innocently, so trusting…
May He find within my own heart, a child-like heart that unreservedly throws myself into His arms, desiring just to feel the pat of His hand on my head that whispers to the deep aching depths of my heart the words of my Heavenly Father say, “I love you completely, perfectly, without any criteria.” As I raise my head to gaze up into His eyes, the darkness of my own doubts, fears, frustrations, and sorrows melt away in the brilliant, glistening light of His love!