"He is so fluffy, soft, and cuddly". These were the words spoken after a young girl, roughly the age of eight, wrapped her arms around her new best friend--a pink stuffed bunny. Her excitement could be felt as she forcefully spit out each word like flavorless chewing gum as her lisp clung on to every other syllable. Her shrieks and shrills made it known what she was feeling on the inside. Her pig tails, neatly wrapped in pink bows, swung to and fro as her head jilted back and forth repititiously as she cuddled her face up against the bunny's plastic whiskers. I imagine she brought her inanimate pet in for show-and-tell. I witnessed this glorious occasion as I was dropping my son off to school one morning. It perpetuated a series of thoughts about how God blesses us with children (biologically, through adoption, or spiritually) and how much we learn from them as a result.
The gift of a child touches the lives of all those he/she comes in contact with--parents, family, and friends. Not only do they bring joy, but they also deposit priceless nuggets of wisdom into our lives. In scripture, Jesus reminds us that we are to come to Him with child-like faith. Imagine if we had the same enthusiasm for Him as that young girl had for her pink bunny. Imagine if we had the same zeal for life as she did. The tidal wave rush of genuine emotion that exuded from her tiny body is what God requires from us. We are not to be a shy or silenced generation, concerned with what our neighbors think of our passion and excitement for Christ. We are called to be bold in faith, in our convictions, and in truths as they pertain to the gospel. God desires us to come to Him like children with our requests, with our petitions, and with a pure interest in seeking His counsel. In Matthew 18:3, Jesus states, "'Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven'". In this scripture, Jesus calls a young child to stand in the midst of His presence as He states further, "'Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven'" (Matthew 18:4).
Jesus exemplifies a child so that we can comprehend humility. A child's ignorance in terms of life experience leaves him/her blemish-free, pure from the tainted world. A child does not yet understand pride, which is evident in their interactions with others. They are not afraid to ask for what they want and in so doing they are expectant to receive. How much could we learn from children in this manner? If we let down our pride, silence the deceit of our hearts that have a tendency to remind us of our previous failures, and turn to God with child-like faith, we would be prosperous in our prayer life. God knows our hearts. He even knows the desires of our hearts. It is during our fellowship with Him that we make known our faith. When we come to Him humbled and expectant to receive, God does not hesitate to release blessings into our lives as He wills it.
In addition to humility, children can be brutally honest. I have a six year-old son who has no qualms about expressing his dislike for something. He often reminds me that the barbecue chicken I prepare for dinner is too dry. From time to time, he lets me know when I look like I have just rolled out of bed. As I watch my confidence level deplete, I can't help but love his honesty (provided it does not extend beyond the walls of this household)! In all seriousness though, it is the same honesty in his character that God seeks in us. He asks for honesty, not because he doesn't know us inside and out, but because He wants us to trust Him with every detail of our lives. He is not looking for the counterfeit you, a replica of whom you think He wants you to be. He is looking for the real you, flaws and all!
We are like children in God's eyes regardless of age, regardless of our past, and regardless of our social standing. Mark 10:15 states, "'Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom as a little child will by no means enter it'". Let us receive the good news with gratefulness, joy, and honesty as we come before God and as we bear witness to others. Let us put aside our pride, and put on child-like faith. In a healthy familial dynamic, the children depend on their parents. So too, we should humble ourselves, relying on nothing or no one but our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ! Do not underestimate what we can learn from our youth. If you are not a parent, observe your nieces or nephews, or any child that has been left in your care. During that span of time, listen to their candid remarks, their passion for life, and their demonstrations of humility. There is much to be learned than what meets the eye! We are all God's children in His eyes! Here we get a free pass to start acting like it!