Friday, January 24, 2014

Jesus loves the little children

This is one of my very favorite Bible stories.

I wonder who told it to me the first time?  Whoever it was, whatever gentle, charitable Sunday school teacher, she must have captured my imagination, because whenever I hear it or read it, to this day, I am transported back to four-years-old, in a dress and lacy anklet socks, sitting bare-legged on a scratchy carpet square.  It is cool and humid in the lower level of the church, and birds sing in the trees on the hill that descends outside the window.

And they were bringing children to him
that he might touch them,
and the disciples rebuked them.
But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant
and said to them, “Let the children come to me;
do not hinder them, for to such
belongs the kingdom of God.
Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive
the kingdom of God like a child
shall not enter it.”
And he took them in his arms
and blessed them,
laying his hands on them.
~Mark  10:13-16 (ESV)

I have never been blind or deaf or crippled, but I have been a child.  I may not be able to imagine a miraculous healing from a debilitating life condition, but I can imagine being one of those children, taken into the arms of Jesus and blessed.  Loved.  Accepted.  Because somebody told me about Jesus blessing the children when I was very young, I developed an openness to the Lord at an early age. I knew that He loved children, and I assumed that He loved me.  Childlike faith may be related to resting in the assurance of His love.

I am utterly thankful that I was blessed to experience the love of Jesus from such an early age, through my parents and through saints who served at the church we attended.  I know that many people do not share this history, and struggle to feel the assurance of God's love for them.

We can all pray that God will make our hearts like children's hearts,
that we will have an innocent confidence that Somebody loves us 
and we are precious and beautiful in His sight;
that we will trust in His provision
and never doubt His ability to care for us;
that we will be mindful of His watchful eyes on us 
at all times,
and seek to please Him because He is good,
because He loves us and blesses us,
because someday He will take us home to glory.

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