From Kathy’s heart to yours
In one of Sarah Young’s devotionals, she makes a statement that caught my eye: “Regardless of how old you are, you are always young in My Presence!”
Have you ever thought that, as one of God’s children, He sees you “forever young?”
While visiting Branson, Missouri, many years ago, my family and I got to visit a Precious Moments Chapel that Thomas Kincade had built. At the front of the chapel, he had painted Precious Moments’ children, and the only adult in the very large painting was Jesus.
In Mark 10:13-16 Jesus tells us how He feels about children. They were bringing children to Him that He might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw it, He was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter.” And He took them in His arms and blessed them, laying His hands on them.
Wow! What a picture! Jesus, our “Father God,” surrounded by little children, with His arms enveloping them.
Take a moment and close your eyes. Imagine Jesus holding you on His knee, enveloping you in His arms, lifting your chin, and saying, “I love you. I am so glad you are my child.”
Being a child encompasses learning, exploring, playing, being carefree, and dreaming. But it is also about hurts, scrapes, and lessons learned.
For some, our earthly fathers were kind, loving, gentle teachers. For others, their fathers brought abuse, tearing down, and absence. My earthly father loved me, cared for me, protected me as best he could, but he was not all-knowing, all-powerful, everywhere present, all-loving, and all-forgiving. He was not, nor could be, everything I would need in a father. Only our “Father God” can be all those things.
When I was 5 years old, someone asked me to a Good News Club where I heard about God sending His Son to die on the cross for me. I heard that I was a sinner and that I needed a Savior. When I asked the Lord Jesus Christ into my heart and life in childlike faith that day, God became my Father. I became a child of the King of kings.
What does “childlike faith” look like to God? Let’s look at Matthew 18:1-7. It says, “At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, ‘Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?’ And calling to Him a child, He put him in the midst of them, and said, ‘Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.’”
Being “Forever young” is about “childlike Faith.” It is about being teachable, having childlike innocence, and having total reliance. It is a “run to” kind of faith. For example, when my grandkids run up to hug me, by faith they are trusting me to pick them up and hug them. As children, God knows what we need: unconditional love, forgiveness, patience, encouragement, someone to lean into and on. Someone we can totally trust. This faith in our “Father God” does not come all at once. Just as a child must first crawl, then walk, and eventually run, we, too, in our Christian walk have to take “childlike” steps.
Remember swinging high on the swing at the park, feeling like you were flying? Remember hearing your father say, “Don’t go too high; don’t jump to soon!” Then, crash! Boom! Bang! Your knees and hands are all scraped up and bleeding. You’re crying for your father, and he is right there.
This is who God is ꟷ perfect, loving, caring, gentle, kind, healing, picking us up, bandaging our wounds and sitting us back in the swing. If I could put it another way, it is about allowing our “Father God” to push the swing of our lives. It is not about us pumping endlessly and going nowhere! “Forever Young” is about “childlike faith” in our “Father God.”
“Father God, may we see ourselves in childlike faith “Forever young, forever Your child, forever loved, forever forgiven, forever Yours!”
Are you trusting your “Father God” to be your “everything Father?”
Will your “Father God” find you today running into His arms?
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Kathy Niswender is the wife of our pastor.