New Living Translation (NLT)
|Photo by Christophe Libert|
Jesus Blesses the Children
13 One day some parents brought their children to Jesus so he could touch and bless them. But the disciples scolded the parents for bothering him.14 When Jesus saw what was happening, he was angry with his disciples. He said to them,“Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children. 15 I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.” 16 Then he took the children in his arms and placed his hands on their heads and blessed them.
Have you ever looked into the eyes of a child and marveled at how full of innocence and wonder they are? The kind of eyes that haven't yet learned not to trust, framed by the face of a little boy or girl that is eager to believe everything good that they hear. A kid who feels safe and secure, knowing that mom and dad are right there, making sure nothing bad ever happens to them.
It is said that children are much more perceptive of both the natural and the supernatural realm than adults are, and I totally believe that. I remember experiences from my own childhood that, if they had occurred today, I'd have thought was my imagination playing tricks on me. That's what happens as we grow older; We stop trusting our instincts, because we've been told so often that they're wrong!
I remember so many instances from my own youth, some natural, some supernatural. I was about 7 years old when I looked out my bedroom window one dark night. I called my parents in, frightened, because I could see a tornado. It was so clear to me! There was no doubt in my mind what I was seeing, and I was worried about the people that might get hurt. My parents couldn't see it, though. They peered out my window, and finally, seeing nothing, assured me that my mind was playing tricks on me. The next morning's news report vindicated me, though. About two miles behind our house, a train had been derailed by a tornado.
As frightening as that was, it wasn't anything supernatural. Nope, the supernatural was much scarier. In my neighborhood, there were a lot of kids, but most of them were a few years older than me and preferred to hang with my brother. There was one girl, however, who just didn't fit in with the rest, and she became my best friend at the time. My only friend, really. She was still closer to my brother's age, but she really was the outcast. We got along well, because nobody wanted to play with me, either.
No way would I have ever turned from the friendship she offered, but man, I hated that she was my only friend! Her house was just downright spooky! I would see things there that just couldn't be explained. If I could describe them, I'd say they were demonic imps moving around in her closet. Or shadows of a woman when there was no light source and no adult in the room. And it wasn't always what I could see, sometimes it was what I felt! I loved to read, and there was a built-in floor to ceiling bookshelf in the hall by my friend's bedroom. I would sometimes sit there for hours, thumbing through the novels that were kept on the lower shelves, the ones that were suitable for younger kids to read. The books were irresistable, and I couldn't stay away. But the odd thing is, it was always cold right there. I have to tell you, there was no central air conditioning system in that house, and although they'd turn on the window units when it got miserable, most of the time the windows were open to catch whatever breeze there was. I can't say it was hot in the rest of the house, but there was no explanation for the chill that I always felt next to those shelves. It wasn't until I went back to visit as an adult that I understood. On the lower half of the shelves were the same books I loved as a child, now covered with dust. On the upper shelves, though, where i couldn't have reached before, waere row after row of books on the occult.
Most people would dismiss my childhood experiences as an over-active imagination. Fears brought on by listening to too many ghost stories that my friend loved to tell, or watching too many scary tv show like Dark Shadows at her house. (I was always so grateful that my own home was 'safe' from such things!) Those same people would dismiss my sudden enlightenment when I went back to visit as the adult mind trying to rationalize my childhood fears.
But that wouldn't explain my daughter's experience.
Rana was barely two when she first saw into the supernatural. We lived in a third floor apartment, and her bedroom faced an empty field. There was no fire escape, or anything else that would have allowed anyone (or anything) access to her window. One night her father and I woke up to hear a blood-curdling scream coming from her room. We rushed into her room, and she was sitting up in her bed, pressed into the corner of he wall, and pointing at her window. She wouldn't even blink as she stared transfixed, crying and screaming about the eyes trying to come in. She was in absolute terror, and yet there was nothing there! No eyes, no animals, not even headlights from a car could be seen from that side of the building. Nothing could explain what had my toddler so terrified. After a few minutes, realization settled over me like a chill. I looked at my husband, and he looked at me, and I think he must have known at the same time as I did. Immediately he got up and started praying through the room, out the door, and through the rest of the apartment. Within seconds, my daughter calmed down. By the time her dad had circled through and come back into the room, she was sound asleep.
Night terrors? Yes. But they were real.
I'm not writing all this to explain how little kids get scared; I'm writing this to point out that children are so much more perceptive than we are! The supernatural isn't just made up of scary stuff, it's full of beauty and glory, too! I heard once that there were at least three angels for every demon. While I can't find any Biblical support for that number, Jesus said in Matthew 18:10 that children are assigned their own personal angels. I think our angels are never reassigned to someone else, I just think we grow up and quit believing.
So when you read that Jesus wants us to receive Him the way a child does, or when you hear the phrase "child-like faith", what it really means is that we need to embrace what we knew so instinctively as a child. We must again believe everything that the Bible says. We need to shake off the disbelief that has crowded out our faith, and start recognizing God's hand in our lives. We have to start giving him the credit when things go right, and be willing to learn lessons from whatever trials he puts us through. We should start recognizing that sometimes our trials are spankings from God, and that often His "silence" is our "Time Out".
We must give up this worldly notion that what happens in our lives is fate, or karma, coincidence or luck. Why is it that nobody questions Newton's law of motion, that every action has an equal and opposite reaction, and yet we can be so blind as to how that works? Newton's law transcends time and space, and connects physical to spiritual, normal to paranormal, natural to supernatural.
Understanding that is the key to receiving the Kingdom of Heaven like a child.