Unless You Come unto Me as These

kids_bubblesThis one is going to be a problem for us. You know that most adults have forgotten that they were children once upon a time. In fact, how long has it been since most adults have included “once upon a time” in any sentence?

We get busy. We work hard to try to impress. Our images and attainments, our wants and frustrations become the controlling impulses of our days. And the competition. Lord, surely you have not known what it was to live in this literal and modern human race!

We project to each other some calculated persona. We niche our lives and focus our life energies toward holding on to that place—unless we spot another space that would suit our purposes even better. How much of ourselves do we give to trying to be grown up and polished?

Somewhere along the way, many of us lost vital parts of ourselves. We ceased to know even our own hearts. You beckoned us to turn around and come back. We heard your voice, but turning around was not in our plans. Advance, advance! All of which makes experiencing your kingdom a difficult quest.

You have told us what this would take. That unless we approach you as a child, we would not enter into your kingdom. Yes, Lord. That one is going to be a problem. We hang our heads and walk away from that call. Because we know we have long since left behind almost every trace of our own childlikeness.

Those qualities of trust and goodness are difficult to access. Children express them so much better than we do. The abilities to give, to share, and to reach out in love? Little ones are so much better at that because no one has taught them not to yet. No one has lectured them on risk. Or attainment. Or position. Or “self.”

Call out to us one more time. Call and keep waiting a little longer. In the meantime, may we see examples of childlikeness in others. May we value the qualities that are best accessed by being made a little lower than the angels. May we find a way to reconnect with the child in us—and with your kingdom’s bounty of eternal hope.

Then little children were being brought to him in order that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples spoke sternly to those who brought them; but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs.” And he laid his hands on them and went on his way. (Matthew 19:13-15)

hungry_soul_cvr_mdThis post originally appeared as chapter 18 in A Hungry Soul Desperate to Taste God’s Grace: Honest Prayers for Life by Charles Qualls.

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