Monday, April 21, 2014

The Heart of a Child

Our precious grandson Briggs
   Yesterday, being Easter, my son and daughter-in-law were on their way to church with their two boys Briggs (4) and Beckett (2).  My daughter in law had been thinking about Branson who left our family for heaven on January 9th.  She became teary eyed as she thought about his great celebration in heaven, but also, how much she missed him.  Briggs asked her why she was crying, and she replied that she missed Branson.  Four year old Briggs responded, "I don't.  I'm happy for him."  Shocked, our daughter in law asked, "Why are you happy for him?" and Briggs said, "He's in heaven!  He gets to be with Jesus!"  No truer words of comfort were ever spoken.  Oh that God might increase my faith to be more like that!
     Throughout His earthly ministry, Jesus interacted with children blessing them and pointing out to the disciples "of such is the kingdom of heaven".  At one point when the disciples were arguing over who would be the greatest in the kingdom of heaven, Jesus answered them with an example.  Matthew 18:2-6 says:  "And calling to Him a child, He put him in the midst of them and said, 'Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.  Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.  Whoever receives one such child in my name receives Me, but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea."  This is quite a statement about the heart of a child.  Jesus is, here, pointing to the humility that a child has.  We cannot enter into heaven with pride, self-importance and a party spirit.  Then, Jesus goes on to say that when we receive a little child in His name we are receiving Him.  Let there be no mistake - God loves children.  Also, Jesus gives a very solemn warning to adults in these verses.  If we lead a child to sin, our judgment will be certain.  When I think of our current culture, I shudder to think of the coming wrath over the abuse, abortion, and destruction of children's lives.  Our nation needs to repent in this area.
      In addition to humility, children have a simple, untainted faith.  Briggs simply believes because both his father and mother have taught him about Jesus Christ.  For him, it is a done deal that when his brother died he went to be with the Lord, and heaven is a happy place to be.  Childlike faith is NOT childish.  It is a trusting faith that says, "I believe in You God and what You say."
     I remember when I was in the hospital fighting my battle with polio at the age of seven.  I wanted to go home.  I simply asked God to make me well so I could go home again.  There was no long theological discussion or complicated prayer.  It was short and sweet.  I trusted God to hear me and He did.  I went home, and by God's mercy, I recovered.  I wish I could tell you that I always trust God like that, but that is not the case.  It is too easy for us, as adults, to get caught up in worldly thinking.  This is why it is so important to be in God's Word to drive out the doubts, fears, and thinking of the world and fill our minds with God's thoughts after Him.
     Sometimes the greatest wisdom comes from the simple faith and humility of a child.  Briggs certainly ministered to his mother, and to all of us in the family.  Out of loss, God brings such redeeming and comforting words.  In fact, I am learning that the more we gather together in family events the more healing there is for each of us.  The same is true for church fellowship as well because they are also our family who never fail to pray for us.
     Our Gospel message is a simple one to be embraced with simple faith and humility as a child would do.  Let us cultivate this childlike trust in God that we may glorify the Lord.  May God grant us the heart of a child.  Selah!

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