Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Mid-Week Message - Jesus Understands

"But Jesus said, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children. And he placed his hands on their heads and blessed them before he left ."  Matthew 19:14-15 (NLT)
First grade.  Lamar Elementary School, Amarillo, Texas.  Each week during "Show and Tell" time, a little girl named Natalie always showed and said the same thing.  She would point to her head and say, "My mama got me this new headband."  I thought it was boring at the time.  Age and maturity has caused me to wonder why that was the only thing she ever had to show.  I also wonder how she felt about it.  Was she embarrassed by never having other things to bring?  What was her home life like?  

What do you remember from your childhood?  It seems that every child has something that sets them apart from the others in some way.  Maybe it was big ears or a big nose. Maybe you lived in a not so enviable neighborhood.  Was it being from a one parent family?  Did you or a sibling have a handicap?  You may have had an alcoholic or drug addicted parent.  Or was it something harder to see?  Emotional sensitivity possibly, or abuse that no one knew about. Whatever it was, I bet you can still get in touch with those feelings even today.  

Jesus was very clear about how He felt about the children.  When the disciples tried to stop the young ones from getting to Jesus, He told them to stop.  I can hear just a touch of a reprimanding tone when I read that passage.  He tells them that, 'the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children."  I know what I have always been taught about this.  Children are innocent and have abundant faith.  They don't try to reason around things the way adults do.  I'm sure that type of faith is precious to our Savior.

I want to propose something that may be new to you.  Might there be more reasons?  I'm sure the purity of faith is a huge part of it, but what if there was more?  What if our Lord, knowing us the way that only He can, knew that these little ones were carrying many complicated feelings and fears?  Times today are much different from then but are people really that different?  When I read scripture I see basically the same struggles then as I do now.  So, I believe that children, even then, carried confusion, doubt about their own abilities, feelings about abuse and being accepted, fear of disappointing parents and worries about fitting in the same way they do now. So, is it possible that one of the reasons that Jesus loved for them to come to Him was that He understood all of that and He desired to minister to them in a very special way? I think so because He knows everything about each one of us.

I chose this topic because I wanted to remind each of us what it felt like to be a child.  Wasn't it easy to harken back to those days?  Those memories will always be a part of us.  And in that way, there will always be a part of each of us that remains that small child.  The Bible tells us that we are God's children.  That means that each of us can approach Jesus as the child we are inside.  And we can lay all of those insecurities at His feet knowing that He understands and loves us.  When we are able to go before Him in that manner, we are displaying pure faith.  Faith that says, "Lord, I'm scared.  I'm afraid I'm going to disappoint those around me.  I am sad or angry or confused.  I am hurting because of abuse or addiction and I need You to hold me."  Do you know what will happen when we do that?  Just as He did in verse 15 of Matthew 19, He will lay His hands upon our heads and bless us.  

Maybe I see things in a different way than you do.  That's fine.  You see, what I have learned from my own struggles is that all of those things that make us feel set apart from everyone else serve to drive us to the comforting, healing, saving power of the cross.  Are you experiencing some of those difficulties today?  I will say this to you.  First, cry if you need to and second go talk to Jesus.  He's waiting and He won't allow anyone to get in the way.  He didn't then, and He won't now.  He adores you.  God bless. 

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