Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." Matthew 19:14
This is Rosie coming out of the water right after she was baptized two weeks ago. I love this picture! I find it so amazing that all three of our children accepted Jesus as their Savior so young. Perhaps it is because God knows that they will need Him (with the enormous ineptitude of their earthly parents). We never pushed baptism, in fact, Adam and I would have liked for them to have waited and been older, wiser, and more able to remember later, the reasons for their choice in this matter of life and death. I am grateful to God’s calling them at such an early age. I do not doubt for a moment that they hear His voice, feel His tug, and have responded in an valid and true fashion. In talking with each of them at the time of their decisions, they were all so certain in what they knew, so sure that they had heard God’s voice in their heart and had responded in faith and wanted to show everyone that they belonged to Him.
At times, I find that I do worry about their youngness, especially because I am one who hobbles down that long road of sanctification so haphazardly. I know Christ as my Savior, but I seem to struggle so with obedience, the art of discipleship (and it is an art), the discipline required in this journey, and desire to the continual placing of Him in the position of Lordship. Certainly He is tired of my kicking Him out of the sear 276 times a day and then asking Him to please come back because I have made a mess of a situation. Really, can the Lord of Heaven and Earth get vertigo? Because I must make Him very dizzy indeed.
And then in one innocuous moment, I see the clearness of the whole situation.
After dinner the other night, Rosie asked if she could have an ice cream sandwich and I said, “yes” (this is a spiritual story, not a nutritional one). Right after she had done a happy dance and song consisting of a chorus that went “oh yeah, I get ‘zert (dessert), oh yeah, I get ‘zert”, she ran to the freezer, stopped mid-track and mid-song and turned around and asked, “can Millie and Maxx get ‘zert too?” When I said “yes. they can”, she ran off singing again.
Upon her return with the three treats, I commended her for thinking of her siblings and she responded with this statement, “I was so happy, but God reminded me in my heart ‘bout them and I wanted to make them happy too.”
How do I dare question the salvation of a child who so obviously gets what obedience means? How many times has God reminded me in my heart about something I should do for someone else and my flesh responds with “you are already so busy, keep on watching Oprah and call them later”?
And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love. 2 John 1:6
How do I say that she is too young to know what it really means to be a Christian? She understands at 7 what God requires of her at 7.
"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." John 13:34-35
Do I at 38 fully understand or even try to comprehend what God requires of me? Do I fumble around with with the lessons I should have learned at 7 and never go any further down the road?
But when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. 1 Corinthians 13:10-12
My prayer is that I would not hinder my children in their walk with Christ, that my inadequacies as a disciple would not become theirs, that my failures would remain mine alone. But it is not enough to just pray for grace to cover their eyes from my shortcomings (though I do pray for that daily). I must also pray for strength to pick it all back up, put it in His Hands and to follow wherever He leads. I must become the 38 year old with the wisdom that is required of me, the obedience that I try to shirk, the love of others fixed in my mind so strong that I stop mid-song to serve them, and above all the heart of a child who just wants to please her daddy in Heaven and hear Him say “well done, my good and faithful servant, come and share your master’s happiness (and an ice cream sandwich).”