“But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.”-Matthew 19:14
For some of us, it takes a lifetime to find our place, and then we have but only a short time with to share with those around us; or beloved, our children. We waste our youth chasing foolish dreams of riches and pleasures of this world only to eventually realize what mattered most have gone before us. As we seek to make the world a better place for everyone, it is our narrow view of the grand picture from where we operate. Only with time and age do we sometimes find that slender vision expands and encompasses a world far greater in scale than we could have ever imagined in our wildest youthful dreams.
However, there are a few who find that grander purpose long before their time. Jesus knew that some would seek him, and when they did, he wanted any, and all obstacles removed from their path, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them…,” Some unknowingly seek His face without ever knowing Him, as God directs them. From their hospital beds in wards full of other children, they lie in wait for the most insignificant touch, the mere glimpse of a smile, anything to brighten their gloom; they seek Him without having to be told, as only the most precious can, “for of such, is the kingdom of heaven…”. An innocence so pure of heart, not even the whitest of white snows can compare. Their hearts commune with the Father, as the touch of angels wings, brush the tears from their tiny, rose colored cheeks. If they are lucky, the image of His presence will remain into adulthood, beyond all the worldly experiences that face them should they eventually live to walk from that supposed place of healing. Then, their path becomes one of God’s will, should they choose it.
Yet, as we face our own mortal ends, the question often arises, am I ready?
Jesus shared with his disciples what the soul of man would be like once he obtained that eternal home when he compared heaven’s inhabitants to the heart of the child when he said, “…For of such, is the kingdom of heaven.” No longer will the earthly bounds, pleasures, and hatreds confine the spirit. No longer will the pangs of hunger distract you from being one with the Father. No more pains and sorrows to burden your being, so that your spirit will soar with the angels on high. There is nothing less magnificent than the picture of a heavenly home of child-like hearted people, all free to be themselves without fears of attack, reprisals, darkness or gloom; it will be heaven for sure.
She rattled on from one topic to the next, a nervous rant. The child was from a severely broken family, so much so, that she was staying in a foster home for the weekend until things could settle down. She sat with me at the oven while we waited for the bread to bake for the tour that was making its way down the Trail. Her foster mother had brought her along for the afternoon, if nothing else, just to get her out of the house. God had a purpose for her visit, this much I knew. As she talked, there was no mention of faith anywhere in her life. From one family member to the next, the child described those that had a positive influence, and those that had not. As she became more comfortable, she began to share the darkest moments in her life; her father’s death four years ago at the age of 37. “He died on July 21,…I was only ten years old,” she said looking down, as she pulled her hair back away from her face with one hand. “His four-year death anniversary was just two days ago.”
“That must be hard,” I replied.
“He died in my arms,” she said, “something I’ll never forget.”
“You’re not supposed to,” I tried to say in a comforting tone. “God want’s you to remember and use it on your journey through life.”
“Oh, I will, …never forget,” she said quickly, as she tried to perk up not allowing herself to go down into that dark abyss.
“Do you know David Smith,” she asked.
“He’s my therapist.”
It was then I realized she had been down much farther than I imagined, and to what extent I had no idea. This shattered broken young woman was doing the best she knew how to pull her life together. “Comfort her with the Word,” came the voice.
“You know, there’s a scripture not far from 7, 21?”
Her attention returned from mourning, “Huh,?”
“John 7:37, On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. 38 He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.”
“Wow, how do you do that, memorize all those scriptures.”
“Not nearly enough,” I responded. “You know something, I lost my father too.”
She turned and looked.
“Do you know the scripture, John 3:16,” I asked before continuing?
“I just learned it the other day,” she quipped.
She stood now, looking down at me in a puzzled face.
Trying to encourage her I began, “For God so loved the…”
She continued to look with a blank stare, unable to retrieve the words. “the world, that He gave His only begotten Son so that whosoever believeth in Him may not perish, but have everlasting life.”
“Oh yeah, that one.” She responded when I had finished.
“My dad died almost two verses later.”
That made no sense, as she wrinkled up her nose.
“His name was John, and he died on 3, 18.” I then quoted John 3:18 for her. “You see, if you believe, you won’t be condemned, but if you choose not to, you are condemned already.”
About that time, the tour group was heading our way, and we were running out of time.
“Oh, I do know one….a scripture,” she said proudly as she sat back down. “It’s the one about the light and the lamp unto my feet. I think it’s like, Psalm 119 something.”
“Yes, I think you’re right,” I said, scanning the Bible app on my phone. Shortly after, I found Psalm 119; 105 and read it aloud to her, “Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path.”
“Very good,” I exclaimed proudly. “There is hope,” I thought silently.
“I don’t know all of those like you,” she replied.
“But you’ve got a great start,” I smiled as my heart panged for her.
She smiled back, as the spirit of a child emerged. The tour group was now turning the corner, and our sharing was over. As I looked back on the evenings events, my thoughts turned to all those that are seeking. There are so many who need our prayers. Many are hurting either physically or spiritually, but we must be even more vigilant to lift those children up who are fighting to find a pathway in this world; a world so broken and bleak, there is little hope for them unless they are shown the way, the truth, and the light.
“May the Word be the lamp unto their feet and a light for all their paths,” this much I pray.
Thanks be to God.