Friday, May 27, 2011

Like Little Children

Our daughter is a fighter when it comes to sleep.  Sometimes she will fight it, bleary-eyed to the final end, until she's so tired that she literally cannot keep her head up or her eyes straight.  L and I take turns helping her get to sleep, but sometimes I must admit it takes more patience than I ever thought it would.  A few days ago, as I lay there with her, trying to get her to go back to sleep after an early wake-up, a recurring thought made its way into my head, but sank in much deeper than it ever had before: This little girl needs me (us).  She is depending on us for everything, even something so (seemingly) simple as sleep.

The thought had crossed my mind before, but in the still, silent darkness of the room, as I was trying to pray by listening more than talking (more on that in an upcoming post), I felt and heard God whisper, "This is how I want you to be with me.  I want you to depend on me for everything."

Jesus, after his disciples asked him, "Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven," replied:
Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.  And whoever receives one child such as this in my name receives me. (Matthew 18:3-5)
Why did Jesus need to remind us of this?  Because, as with all of the other admonishments he gave us, being like a child in our relationship to the Father is counter-cultural and contrary to our sinful nature.  Our culture teaches us to grow up, get out, and blaze our own path, and our sinfulness leads us to be independent and disobedient, the opposite of what God is asking of us: to be dependent and obedient.

How can the young walk without fault? Only by keeping your words.
With all my heart I seek you; do not let me stray from your commands.
In my heart I treasure your promise, that I may not sin against you.
Blessed are you, O LORD; teach me your laws.
With my lips I recite all the edicts you have spoken.
I find joy in the way of your decrees more than in all riches.
I will ponder your precepts and consider your paths.
In your laws I take delight; I will never forget your word.

Psalm 119:9-16

In order to return to right relationship with the Father, oddly enough, I need to "grow down" and emulate the obedience of my little girl.    It's ironic that God can teach me so much through a little girl who is not even conscious of her own needs, other than the simple need to have mommy and daddy.  The Lord truly does work in mysterious ways.