To be a Child again
Matthew 18:3 (NIV)
3 and [Jesus] said, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
When I was 11 or 12 years old, I lived like almost any normal kid, playing, laughing, goofing around etc.. One day I had a pool party with 2 of my friends where we were, as Chucky Cheese says, “kids just being kids.” Here my friend decided to practice his new wrestling move and jab his elbow into the right side of me body. I can’t tell you the amount of pain that I felt after this as it was the worse feeling that I had in my life up until that point. This was a radiating pain, one that would come every 15-45 seconds and then go away but would get worse with every attack.
At this point, we did what pretty much every islander would do, we called the island nurse. She came and saw the spot that the pain came from and told us we needed to get to a hospital immediately. Now if you are an islander, you would know what kind of journey this meant and the dangers of it, so for my American friends, let me explain. First you go drive to the dock, hop on a boat to the nearest island with an airport, get in a car and drive to the airport, try to orchestrate an emergency flight to get to that small island airport, get on the plane, fly to the capital, get in an ambulance, then finally get to the hospital. This occurred over a span of about 9 hours, so you can imagine that any emergency in such places is extremely dangerous and frightening. All the while from start to finish, my mother held me in her arms.
The rest of this story is pretty straight forward, once we got the hospital, we saw a doctor who had told us that he thought my appendix had gotten inflamed from the blow. After just a quick test, they confirmed that a surgery was needed to remove my appendix, which we did. Throughout this ordeal, with the length of the journey, the hours of anxiety not knowing how long it would take and the pain that I would endure through this time, there is one thing that sticks out above all others. The one thing I remember above all else is that from the time that we left our house to the time we had gotten to the hospital, I had kept my eyes shut. There were two periods where I had opened my eyes just to see my surroundings. For the remainder of the many hours on such a perilous journey, I hadn’t bothered to look or speak to anyone.
The reason for this is not because I was tired from travel, as anyone who has had a similar experience would tell you that the pain is enough to keep you awake. The reason is that there was something deep that gave me more peace then even the pain that I continued to face. This was a complete trust in my mother. When she carried me in her arms, I knew from when we embarked on our journey that no matter where she took me, I could trust her with my life. I knew that in order to get better, I would have to allow her to completely carry me no matter how many hours it would take. I knew that if I were to be saved, she would have to be the one to carry me in her arms, no matter how tired or fatigued she had to be from such a voyage.
In a similar way, I firmly believe that if this virus has taught us anything, it is that if we are going to press on as Christians in a fallen world, we are to have the kind of child-like faith that Jesus talks about in Matthew 18. Everyone in our American world has been impacted, no matter if you are a child and your school has shut down, if you are a parent and you don't know if you will have a job in a matter of weeks, if you are a senior and your retirement funds are now in question, or if your younger and all of your life plans are falling through the cracks. Everyone feels burdens that they have not had to carry before and pains that they didn’t even know they could have. Who knows how long we will have to carry these that came out of left field?
What is the response of the Christian? How does Jesus expect us to carry on? The answer lies in child-like faith. When we are young, we believe anything is possible and so to children, Jesus can literally do anything. When we get older, we seem to lose the ability to believe God can overcome anything. What does Jesus expect from us? Jesus expects that we can close our eyes and that He will take care of everything. Even if this means that he must carry us to wherever we need to be, He will do it. The question is do you trust Him?
Do you trust Him? No matter how bad the pain gets, do you trust God has you in His arms? Would you let go of worrying about where you are and where you are going and just trust Him? Would you do something so radical as to become a child again and trust Him? If you are trying, pray one simple prayer:
“Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24, NKJV)