Sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth. Sing to the Lord, praise his name; proclaim his salvation day after day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples. Psalm 96:1 NIV
Yesterday I was outside looking for the keys to my van. I still have no idea where they are. (Cue “This is the Stuff.” by Francesca Battistelli.) I guess it is a good thing that my van cannot go anywhere due to the alternator dying.
Oh, but I digress.
I went into my backyard to see if we had any tadpoles yet. Nope. No tadpoles. During all this, my little girl is on the swing set singing. Loudly. But, her singing is beautiful. Her song? “I Will Follow You” by Chris Tomlin.
I get ready to head back indoors and call her to me. I call her again and she comes. She says, “Oh, sorry, Mom. I was just worshipping God. Praise the one and only Father, God.”
Oh, but I wish it were that easy.
Yes, Little One, praise Him.
As we head in the door, I pray a quick prayer that she might always praise Him. I pray that she is always able to praise Him no matter where life leads her.
Jesus said in Matthew 18:3, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”
Wait. What does this mean? I mean, seriously. It is not as if we can go back to being 7 years old where our biggest struggles are losing teeth, challenging math problems, eating horrid vegetables, and early bedtimes. I am fairly certain that Jesus did not mean we had to go back to being 7 (thankfully). But, our mind set needs to be. Our attitudes should be. And, our beliefs can be.
How do I become like my 7 year old? Well, think about it. She was outside singing a worship song to God. Just because she could. At her young age, she knows God loves her. She knows she is special to Him. And praising Him is her way to say thank you for loving her.
What can adults learn from this sweet 7 year old? Three things.
One. That praising God and actively thanking Him cures distress. We’re taking our focus off ourselves, off our discomfort and off our struggles to recognize how awesome God truly is. Praising Him is a care free and an automatic expression of joy in Him.
Two. That faith in God is really very simple. We believe in someone we cannot see. We feel it in our hearts that He has us in His grip. We just know that God is bigger than anything we might face. Faith. Believing in what we cannot see because of the Spirit in our souls.
Three. Joy is real. Joy comes despite sorrow. Children find joy in bugs, lizards, sunshine, trees, play sets, and the beach. Swinging on the swing. Dad’s home from work. A new paint color. Kids can be joyful at the simplest things. For my little girl, it was swinging on the swing set on a hot summer day. She chose to display her joy by singing to God. How awesome is that.
Worship. Faith. Joy. These are the ingredients of a child-like faith. When we look beyond our struggles and choose to believe God, miracles happen.
Back to Matthew 18:3. Why do we have to come to Christ as a child?
Because children keep it simple. Because children take what they are told, don’t over complicate it, and are able to have faith unscathed. But, even those kids who are or were hurt as children are able to be resilient and chase their dreams. They haven’t lost all hope. They have faith that life will get better.
Faith like a child. Praise like a child. Joy like a child.
Oh, Jesus let me be like my child. Let me have boundless joy. Let me chase you relentlessly. And, let me praise you always. Let me praise you in every storm, in every bit of joy, and in every season change.
Praise the Lord. Praise the name of the Lord; praise him, you servants of the Lord. Psalm 135:1 (NIV).
All Bible references are from http://www.biblehub.com and are of the NIV translation.