I’m 25 years old and my mom still calls me baby. I don’t mind at all. In fact, I love to hear her say, “Love you, baby” right before I nod off to sleep (I was reminded of that on vacation.) To her, I will always be baby. Even though I’m not a mom, I kind of understand. When I see my younger brother Dalton, in my mind, he’s still a kid. He doesn’t look like it, nor does he act like he did when he was 6 (well….haha, kidding), but he’ll always be my “little brother”—no matter how big he gets.
Is it just me, or does every adult find themselves wishing they could be a kid again? Even if it’s just for a few minutes. What would it be like to have not a care in the world—but to be cared for constantly? I saw a little girl walking her dog today. She stopped to finish drinking her bottle of yogurt and tipped it to the sky. The dog wandered around the garden beside her while she was determined to get every last drop. As soon as her chin came back to horizon, the look of contentment on her face was priceless. Then she continued along with her furry little friend. Clearly, she wasn’t concerned about the time or who was watching or what they thought. There’s a simplicity of life that comes with being little, which is maybe why we find ourselves with the Peter Pan syndrome of “I don’t want to grow up.” Childhood means lots of play and little responsibility.
While God doesn’t promise an easy life, He does invite us to come as children. We are kids in His eyes, and that should be a liberating truth for us. Do you ever notice how kids can get away with things adults could never get away with in public—like picking their nose, eating a stranger’s food, asking blunt questions? They can do that because they don’t know any better (or if they do, they need to be reminded). There’s an innocence associated with childhood; and just as the public extends grace for kids (most times), God willingly extends grace in our moments when we behave contradictory to His will because we are in the process of learning. It doesn’t mean we won’t be taught a lesson, or reminded; it just means that mercy and grace guide the teaching because of our nature.
On the topic of a child’s nature, there’s both a humility and honesty that in them that is striking. They are completely dependent upon their caregivers. Most kids can’t feed themselves, remember to brush their teeth, or pick out the proper clothes for the day’s weather. Yet, they are so bold when they assert their needs or opinions—“I’m tired.” “I don’t want to go to school.” “Mom, pleeeeeaaase can I have ice cream for breakfast?” Kids have a voice of honesty when they are sure of their parents’ love. If a child is reprimanded every time he said he was hungry, he would probably stop saying it. But, because a mother loves her son and wants to provide for his needs, she listens and makes a snack. Parents provide for their children’s needs, but they don’t always cater to their wants.
Growing up, my parents made decisions that I didn’t like—about movies I couldn’t watch or school nights I couldn’t have sleepovers or curfews that couldn’t be pushed back. At the time it wasn’t what I wanted, but now I see that it’s what I needed. If only we can see God’s hand working in our lives this way—always for our best despite our limited perspective.
So here’s to being young forever. Let’s revel in simplicity. Let’s approach him in honesty, but not without recognizing our complete need for Him. And let’s praise Him for being the Father who always provides— the One who knows our needs and acts accordingly.
“Our Father in heaven…” (Matthew 6:9)