By Brooke Williams, Wholly Loved Blogger, Editor, and Social Media Assistant
Matthew 18:3 “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”
Really? Hey God, have you met my children?! Do you remember when my oldest threw a white board across the room because she was one letter off on her spelling quiz? Is that what I’m to be like? Oh, and what about when my three-year-old crossed her arms, narrowed her eyes, and then slammed a door in my face because I refused to give her a cookie. I guess I get the point. Act like that, right?
Children can be so frustrating. Anyone who has them knows exactly what I mean! I used to think I was the most patient person in the world…and then I had kids. In the world of radio, where I used to work full time, I dealt with irate sales people with a shrug. I handled last minute deadlines with a smile. And I smoothed over conflicts between others with a joke.
But with kids? It’s all different. Maybe it’s the lack of sleep. Maybe it’s the constant demands and little to no thanks. Maybe it’s the fact that there are no breaks. Ever. Patience grows thinner by the day!
So Matthew 18:3 is hard to understand at times. Be like a child? You mean whine every time I don’t get my way? Or do you mean demand more, cry more, and complain more?
After a particular trying day in our household where all I wanted to do was get the kids to bed and collapse onto the couch, my oldest, who was 5 at the time, turned it all around for me.
“Sometimes I get scared at night,” she said. I, being exhausted and ready for an end to the day, probably said something like, “Mm hm.”
“When I hear thunder or I get scared,” she went on, “I ask God to wrap His arms around me. And then I can feel Him hugging me and I know I’m safe.”
Jaw drops. Tears roll. Time stops.
And that is why we are to be like children. Because only a child would think of something so profoundly simple. When was the last time I was scared and relied solely on God to wrap His arms around me and get me to the other side of a crisis? My five-year-old got it.
So while God doesn’t necessarily want us to whine and cry like children (even though we do plenty of that if we’re honest, right?), He does want us to open our hearts like a child. Sometimes it’s hard to believe what we can’t see. I struggle with that, I’ll admit. But a child? Never! A child embraces the unknown, imagines what they cannot see, and asks God to hug them when they’re scared. And what do they get in return?
They feel Him. His presence. His Grace. His mercy. They get it all. Everything we’ve ever wanted.
I took a page from my daughter’s book the night she told me God was hugging her. When I laid down to go to sleep, I remembered to tell God about my day, including all the struggles I had with my daughters and the everyday life of being a busy mom. I asked for Him to wrap His arms around me then, and any time He noticed that I was feeling frazzled because I don’t always think to stop and ask. And you know what? I could feel Him. Just like my daughter said.
Sometimes it takes the words of a child to put a stop to our adult ways. But if we take the time to act more like a child, see life for its beauty and appreciate God for who He is, then and only then will we have access to something truly wonderful.