When Jesus saw what was happening, He was angry with His disciples. He said to them, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children. I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.” (Mark 10:13-15, NLT)
A Lesson from Lea, with Love
Last week I was blessed abundantly when I had the privilege of visiting my 1-year-and-5-month-old little niece in Port Elizabeth. I could let my hair down and just be little, small and childlike, getting dirty as we built sandcastles and playing in the mud. I was the builder and she, the demolisher
When I arrived, little Lea was overjoyed as she ran up to me on her chubby little legs. Shrieking with boundless delight, she jumped onto my lap and stole my heart all over again with those beautiful, blue, innocent eyes, sparkling with stars of anticipation, expecting a great time of fun and play.
What a precious moment it was when she wrapped her little arms around my neck with complete trust and surrender, not doubting my love for her even for a moment. Our Heavenly Father showed me the holiness of the moment as the Holy Spirit gave life to the words of the French author, Jacques Ellul. In his wonderful book, Anarchy and Christianity, he remarked with unusual wisdom,” No matter what God’s power may be, the first aspect of God is never that of the Absolute Master, the Almighty. It is that of the God who puts Himself on our human level and limits Himself.”
I had the privilege of loving Lea the same way our Lord Jesus loved us when He did not consider His equality with God as something to hold on to, but He emptied Himself by becoming like one of us (Phillipians 2:7). I could love Lea by putting myself on her childlike level, without considering my adulthood and limiting myself. I listened to all her incomprehensible baby babble, pretending to understand every single word as she was wholeheartedly giving me an account of her little life. Needless to say, for a few hours we played to our heart’s delight.
The holiness of that moment wrapped its warm, loving arms around me like the first rays of the sun at daybreak after a cold, dark night. My heart sensed with anticipation that our Pappa was revealing an awesome side of His character to me.
During the third decade of the first century, the Jewish families from Palestine valued their children, especially boys, for their posterity. However, they were very low on on the social ladder of a religious society who highly valued education, wisdom and intelligence. They had no rights or status and were regarded as inferior, the least among family members, a nuisance only to be seen, but definitely not heard! It came as a shock to me that we need to become like these unimportant, inferior little ones to enter our Pappa’s Kingdom of love (Matthew 18:3). I needed to desire and value my Pappa’s love much more than my so-called rights or importance, the idols the world loves to pay homage to!
Our orphaned, broken world is trying to survive without a Father, but has robbed so many of our Pappa’s children of their innocent childlikeness, me included. Since as far as my mind was able to reach back in time to fetch memories from my past, I had been on a futile quest trying to impress my Pappa and all those I considered to be His representatives here on earth. Well, I know now it is just as impossible as trying to catch the wind or chasing my own shadow.
I was suffering from a severe case of, what I call, the Micah syndrome. Micah had the same mindset as me when he lamented so beautifully, “What can we bring to God? What kind of offering should we give Him? …. Should we sacrifice our first-born children?” (Micah 6:6-7, NLT).
This syndrome was rampant amongst the ancient Canaanite tribes. Seeking the favor of their gods, they tied their first-born sons to altars as sacrifices and offered their virgin daughters to fiery volcanoes. What an incentive to let go of chastity! I wondered if Abraham thought it was business-as-usual when Our Pappa asked him to offer up Isaac?
I was ignorant of the beautiful freedom our Lord Jesus gave me by being the only mediator between my Pappa and me. As I allowed the Holy Spirit of love to draw me closer and closer into our Father’s love and the resurrected life of our Lord Jesus, I was again able to recapture the holiness of childlike faith. I could once again hear our Lord’s invitation to just come to Him to experience His rest. (Mark 10:14). Just like little Lea, I ran up to my Pappa and hurried into His Loving Embrace. I told Him of all my brokeness, weaknesses, frustrations, hopes, fears and dreams without feeling that I was a nuisance. I started to experience the truth of our Lord’s words, “You have taught children and infants” (Psalm 8:2) and shared in His delight, “Oh Father, Lord of heaven and earth, thank you for hiding these things from those who think themselves wise and clever, and for revealing them to the childlike.” (Matthew 11:25).
One of my favorite authors, A W Tozer, once remarked with divine wisdom, “An infinite God can give all of Himself to each of His children. He does not distribute Himself that each may have a part, but to each one He gives all of Himself as fully as if there were no others”. So true!
Dear Ones, your Pappa does not look at the limitations this illness forces on you, He looks at your childlike heart reaching out to Him through all your pain and exhaustion. He looks at your childlike faith that implicitly trusts His promise of love to be close to the suffering, listening to your cries for help. (Psalm 22:24).
The world might abandon their weak, but not our Pappa, for He has a special place in His heart for all the spiritually, emotionally and physically broken ones! May our Pappa bless you and keep you this week as you share your life with Him, knowing that you bring joy to His heart by just being the broken, beautiful you He loves. Allow Him to carry you as He wraps you close to His heart in His Loving Embrace.