I once heard a story about a 5-year old boy who lived on a farm. His parents were harsh, especially his father.
It was a brick farm house with a large porch that wrapped around the front. In those days there weren’t always railings so children had to be careful, especially since it was about five feet off the ground.
One day the boy was standing at the edge of the porch looking down. His father walked over and held out his arms, as if to say, ‘Jump! I’ll catch you!’ This little boy gladly jumped, as if to land happily in his father’s arms. But while he was in the air, his father pulled his arms back, letting the boy crash to the ground.
The mother ran over to her crying son. She looked to her husband for an explanation. He looked down at his son and said: “Life is hard. People are going to let you down. And you have to learn to not trust people, so the sooner you learn that lesson, the better.”
I hope none of us have had that experience. But as we go through life, difficult experiences do happen to us—a harsh word, a betrayal, a searing disappointment—and we go thud on the metaphorical ground.
Our experiences can harden us, and we lose something of the child within each one of us.
Jesus tells his disciples that “unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3). But what is it about little children that is so commendable?
One of the traits he highlights is quite simply that they “believe” in him (Matthew 18:6). To believe in Jesus is to wholeheartedly trust and depend on him. To wholeheartedly trust that his words are true and are the best for you. And to wholeheartedly depend on his love, wisdom and strength instead of your own.
Have your experiences hardened you? Have you lost something of the child within?
Trust God. Live in dependence on him. Wholeheartedly. Unlike the father in the story, our Heavenly Father is perfect in his love for us.
As we are reminded in Deuteronomy 33:27: “The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.” Because of that he will never let us fall.
By Matthew Ruttan
–“Unless you become like little children.” That’s my latest sermon. Click here to watch on YouTube. “The key is to become child-like without being child-ish.”
–Bible quotes are from the NIV.