Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Suffer Little Children

Maybe you have heard that prayer:
'Lord, I give You my life.
You have my permission to interrupt it any way You please.'

And the interruption comes,
and it really throws a monkey wrench into your plans,
and other people's plans for you are messed up, too.
Because it's a crying interruption, with a runny nose,
and it needs a nap every day at consistent times to be happy and functional.
And it reminds you that God's priorities aren't the same as everyone else's.

And those interrupting children are God's children.
And sending them away so Jesus can do His important work in adults
is something He'd rebuke you for.
They are the kingdom.
Jesus the King of Little Children?
Squirmy children with sticky hands?
Hungry children with their hands out?
Tantrumy children who get underfoot?

"At the same time came the disciples to Jesus, saying, 
Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? 
And Jesus called a little child to Him, and set him in the midst of them, 
And said, Verily I say to you, 
Except ye be converted, and become as little children, 
ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. 
Whoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, 
the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
And whoever shall receive one such little child in My name, receiveth Me." 

~Matthew 18:1-5

The disciples obviously blew off His answer to their question,
because in the very next chapter it says,
"Then were brought to Him little children, 
that He should put his hands on them, and pray: 
and the disciples rebuked them. 
But Jesus said, Suffer little children, 
and forbid them not to come to Me
for of such is the kingdom of heaven.
And He laid His hands on them..."
Matthew 19:13-15

Who is the greatest?
He called a child.
And that kid came when He called him.
He didn't say, "I'll have to get back to you on that, Jesus,
after I've checked my schedule."
With no pride and no agenda,
he came over and stood there as an object lesson.
And the disciples looked on and dismissed his importance.
Jesus was doing His divine work in the proximity of children.
Close enough to call them over.
They were familiar enough with Him that they came if He called.

In Mark, when this story is told,
it says Jesus was very displeased
when He saw the disciples rebuking them.
He was grieved, and He ached.
He wanted them near Him.
Receiving a child in His name is receiving Him.
They are something to 'suffer' at times.
Demanding and exhausting.

We have limited resources of time and energy,
and they suck up more of it than we have.
We'd rather put the time into things that show.
Yesterday, I vacuumed the whole downstairs of my house.
By evening, the floor was scattered with Cheerios
that Lydia had dropped in every room,
some of them after chewing a little first.
I folded napkins that she threw on the floor,
and then 'helped' me pick up again.
It's a perpetual cycle of unending work.
Jesus said to suffer them.

And so, we prepare to welcome another.
Yes, Lord, You can interrupt our lives.
Change our world.
Slow our steps.

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Because it's a crying interruption, with a runny nose,


Shanon said...

What a blessing your words are to me today, thank you! God 'interrupted' our lives about 7 months ago when we found out we were expecting our first - very unexpectedly! It was honestly very hard to accept at first, as most interruptions are, but we are so overjoyed to meet our daughter and continue on this path that God has laid before us - now as a family of 3. Congratulations on your new family member!!

Steadfasthope said...

Congratulations! It's a wild ride, and one it would be a loss to miss.