Wednesday, April 13, 2005

And A Little Child Will Lead Them - Isaiah 11:6

I am constantly taught and ministered to by my daughter Maria. My 4 1/2 year old daughter. I have to share three recent interactions that brought me to tears and to my knees before God.

Every night I read and pray with Maria. One evening after we prayed, with the lights out, I kissed her on the forehead and told her how proud I was of her and how much I loved her because of a specific set of circumstances that I won't bore anyone with. I caught myself on using the world love, however. My wife Anita and I work hard to not use love in a conditional context. I quickly added that "honey I am proud of you because of your actions, but I do not love you because of them. I love you no matter what, whether your good or bad. We always love you."

Maria responds unsolicited with, "God loves us when we're bad, when we're good, and when we are sad, and when we are happy. God loves us all the time and will always take care of us."

I was speechless with tears welling in my eyes and my heart aching with love. After a few moments I recovered enough to ask where she learned this. I didn't remember specifically ever having this lesson with her. "Did you learn that at Church sweetheart? Did we tell you that?" She answered matter of factly, "No. God told me." Now I was crying. Through tears I told her she was right and she should never forget what she just said.

I went into the kitchen and told Anita what had just occurred. She said, "that's interesting. A few months ago Maria said something very similiar about God and when I asked where she had learned this she said an angel told her.

A second incident happened a few nights later. After she said one of her nightly Psalms, she began to whisper extremely softly. I amost did not notice the action. Intrigued, I asked her what she was doing and she replied, "I am talking very quietly to God. God can hear us when we talk without words. People can't hear us, but God can. God can hear us when we don't even talk, but people can't. And that was on my heart and I just had to get it out."

It was just on her heart and she had to get it out!. I was just amazed and tearing up again. The student teaches the master.

The third incident happened last night. We were watching a DVD (The Lion of Oz) and a character in the story was afraid. Out of the blue Maria says, "we don't need to be afraid because God will take care of us." "How do you know that", I asked? Nonchalantly and shrugging she answers, "it's just in my heart."

I know she is telling the truth with these answers because usually when we ask where she heard or learned something she tells us at Church, from my teacher, you said it, or from a DVD or from TV. I do believe God told her these things. Maybe not with a voice, but by imprinting them on her heart and into her being as a truth. She does not understand how they got there, nor does she seem at all concerned with the mechanism, she just knows these things and she knows the source. At what point in our lives did we lose this purity as adults?

He [Jesus] called a little child and had him stand among them. And he said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me. But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea." -- Mt. 18:2-6.

I now realize that my main job as a parent is not to teach my child about God, she knows HIM! My primary job is to not corrupt or undermine her pure, unconditional, naive love for God and our Savior Christ.

I am very humbled.

Note: root derivation of naive is natural, native. Webster's: not suspicious, credulous--implies a geniune, innocent simplicity or lack of artificiality. Also implies a lack of "worldly" wisdom.

7 comments:

Clarissa said...

I learn from my children often, too ... and am moved to tears by it, as you were. Partly because of guilt I feel over not being everything they need, not being their ultimate teacher. But I'm reminded here that God is their ultimate teacher. And it amazes me how he uses them to teach me.

Thanks for the post.

Tony Arnold said...

Great insight Clarissa, thanks.

Amanda said...

Tony,

You have the sweetest family. Maria is a beautiful little girl.

We miss seeing you guys as often as we used to. Hope things are going well for you all.

:o)

Joe said...

I found this article when I was writing something similar on my own blog at IAmNotYourPastor.com.

What a gorgeous post. You really helped me by sharing this. Children may not have experience, but they have an openness, that the older generation can often lose.

Anonymous said...

This really peaks my interest in why some people not only do not believe in baptism, but blatantly mock the blessed moment calling it a sprinkling? Children are so wise; humble, pure, and open. We need to learn from them and acept them into our spiritual worlds as soon as possible

Anonymous said...

This is great. Madame Guy on says the highest form of revelation is beyond the senses, beyond words and pictures. Clare

Anonymous said...

I meant Madame Guyon. Clare