The other day, I was watching Sweet Pea as she realized daddy was home. A huge smile lit up her face and she started running towards him calling “Oshie! Oshie!” She ran to him with open arms fully expecting him to pick her up and hug her tight. And he did exactly what she expected him to do.
Somewhere along the way, I’ve lost that wild abandon, that trusting without thought; not only in my everyday life, but also in my spiritual life.
What can we learn from how kids embrace life? Can we learn to express ourselves boldly, to dream big dreams, to take risks? Can we learn to trust God wholeheartedly?
Luke 18: 15-17 says “Then they also brought infants to Him that He might touch them; but when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them. But Jesus called them to Him and said, ‘Let the little children come to Me and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God. Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.’”
How do we enter the kingdom as a little child? Think back to the first part, where Sweet Pea flung out her arms and ran to her daddy. We need to follow that example. We need to fling open our hearts and embrace faith with a wild abandon. We need to be teachable and trust God the same way that children trust their parents- wholeheartedly. We need to accept it as a gift and not something we can purchase or earn. We need to come to God without prejudice, without pride, without ambition. We need to come with meekness and humility.
Proverbs 22:4: By humility and the fear of the Lord are riches, and honor and life.
1 Peter 5:5: Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”
To be humble means to be modest. To not be proud or arrogant. For the Christian, it means to think of others more than your think of yourself. To put the needs of others above your own needs.
1 Timothy 6:11: But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.
Colossians 3:12: Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness , longsuffering;
To have a spirit of meekness does not mean that you allow others to walk all over you. It means to be gentle, to be kind.
Sometimes Sweet Pea flings herself into daddy’s arms, and other times she climbs in his lap to snuggle in and rest. The day has worn her out, or she isn’t feeling well, and she needs to know that she can rest safe and be taken care of.
Just as a child will come to his parents when he is tired and hungry, we also need to come to God for rest. We need to come to him for the peace that comes from being under His protection, His care.
Psalm 62:5-6 says “Find rest, oh my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from Him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will not be shaken.”
What is this rest for the soul? Why does it seem so elusive? Dietrich Bonhoeffer said in his Sermon to the German –Speaking Congregation in Barcelona on July 15, 1928:
“We are nervous about quietness or rest. We are so used to restlessness and noise that we feel uncomfortable in the stillness. And therefore we run away from rest, we chase from one event to another, lest, for a moment, we find ourselves face-to-face with ourselves alone. We are afraid to look at ourselves in the mirror. We are bored with ourselves. And it is often the most miserable and fruitless hour when we have to be alone with ourselves.
But it is not only fear of being alone with ourselves, facing up to who we are and our need to be cleansed, but far more we are afraid to be alone with God, lest He disturb our aloneness and discover us and deal with us. We fear that He will draw us into a one-on-one relationship and chide us according to His will. We are afraid of such an uncomfortable personal encounter with God, and therefore we avoid it, even dismissing thoughts about God in case He comes too near. It would be terrible to have to look God in the face and be responsible to Him.”
What can we do to experience this rest that we so desperately need? We need to be willing to spend time alone with God. We need to let ourselves be still before Him. We need to be in the Word daily and we need to pray without ceasing. Only then can we find rest in God alone.
Psalm 46:10: Be still and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.
Matthew 4:4: But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’”
1Thessalonians 5:17: pray without ceasing
Sometimes Sweet Pea hides from daddy. When she’s found a pair of scissors and has cut up something of his, she hides to avoid getting disciplined. She hasn’t learned yet that discipline from the one who loves her is never a terrible thing to be endured, but rather a way for her to become mature.
Just like a child hiding from his parents because he’s done something wrong, we hide from God to avoid facing up to ourselves. But it doesn’t have to be this way.
Which one of us would ever turn our child away? Or give him something evil when he’s asked for something good? Jesus said in Luke 11:11-13:
“If a son asks for bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead? Of if he asks for an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?”
We have a heavenly Father who is so much greater than our earthly father. We should never be afraid to come to Him with arms flung wide in joyful exuberance, when we need rest for our weary souls, or when we need to seek forgiveness. Our heart’s cry should be “Abba, Father.”
Galatians 4:6: And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!”