In the Sandals of Children
At that time the disciples came to Jesus and said, “Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” And He called a child to Himself and set him before them, and said, “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted 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” (Matthew 18:1-4).
The “kingdom of heaven” is not about what happens after we die: it is about the lived experience of God here on earth.
We are accustomed to seeing signs announcing that children are not allowed into a specific place or event. We take that in stride. Then we turn around and pretend not to hear Jesus say: ONLY children are allowed! Well, actually, many folks believe that church is for kids. Caretakers are reluctantly allowed.
Jesus is calling us to stand in the sandals of children here. Most kids are open, excited, curious, lavish in their love and trust and take delight in the world around them. The essence of being a child is also unfiltered honesty, especially about their own needs. No apologies. And so, for instance, a child will say “I’m thirsty” or “I want ice cream,” without adding “I know you’re real busy right now, Daddy” or “Mommy, I know it’s almost time for supper, but…” A child simply asks.
Jesus says: “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him” (Matthew 7:9-11).
In the midst of our current needy-ness – oil prices are down, hurricane season is here, flood recovery continues, the uncertainly over our nation’s future, the heat of summer, the threat of terrorists – Jesus invites us to come to him unvarnished and unfiltered and to simply ASK FOR WHAT WE NEED. That sets the stage for him to show us the Father’s love.
What prevents us? The lie that God doesn’t care or isn’t concerned about details. The lie that God is tired of listening to me or that there are bigger and more important problems in the world. The lie that I’m a sinner and don’t deserve God’s help or attention. The lie that he already knows my needs so he isn’t interested in hearing from me. The lie that it’s up to me to take care of myself.
As you face life, go and face God like a little child. Simply tell him everything you want and need. Everything.