Every time I ask my three year old nephew who loves him, fully expecting him to play along with my little game and point to me — his doting and super cool aunt, he replies without hesitation, “God.”
“Yes, God loves you. Who else?”
“You! And God.”
For kids, the reality of being loved by a big, powerful, perfect God is something that they just get. They don’t have to analyze how or why, they don’t need all the answers. It’s just a simple truth that stays at the forefront of their minds. My niece and nephews can explain the Gospel to me more clearly than a lot of adults.
There are a lot of truths that just came to us more easily as kiddos. The world was simpler, and our place in it seemed easier to pinpoint.
Sometimes, I find myself wishing I could just see the world more like I did as a kid. When I think back to those days, I’m reminded of a few basic ideas that, though seemingly elusive now, once came naturally.
We don’t have to fix every problem.
Remember how, as a kid, you just kind of knew that some problems were bigger than you? Your dirty bedroom, your bad grade on a math quiz, the jammed gears on your bike — those were problems you could solve. But your mom’s totalled mini-van, your dad’s unemployment, or your grandpa’s poor health — those were out of your hands, and you knew it.
Somewhere along the way, as we became adults and problem solvers, we started believing that we had to be responsible for all the solutions, all the time. This is a whole lot of weight to carry, and it shows in the creases on our foreheads and the stoic expressions on our faces. Sometimes, we need a reminder that we can’t fix everything, and that’s okay.
There is a child-like faith in knowing that some things are held only in the hands of God, who is more loving and more powerful than we’ll ever really grasp. When we set our hope in Him as the only one truly capable, he soothes our hearts into understanding. We find that we can rest easy while our Father steps in to do what only He can.
Adventure and pain go hand in hand.
For all the times that I rode my bike full speed down the biggest hill in the neighborhood, or took it off road on a root-covered, wooded trail, I have the scars of scratches and scrapes to show for it. Every adventure came with the possibility of pain. There was always a chance I might fall, that my brakes might go out, or that I might have a brush with poison ivy. The risks were always worth it for the thrill of fun and freedom.
As adults, we start trying to avoid pain at all costs, which can mean, as a by-product, avoiding the adventures and risks that might cause it. We avoid physical pain by making our lives as convenient and comfortable as possible. But even more, we avoid emotional pain by closing ourselves off to possibilities that just might push and intimidate us. But we need to remember that we were created to feel pain, it’s a natural part of our human existence.
Trying to avoid it all together is like applying Novocain to our lives, we may not feel pain, but we’ll also be left numb. And that’s no way to live. Those same possibilities that scare us? They may also send a little adrenaline pulsing through our veins and leave us feeling just a little more alive in the process.
Love isn’t complicated.
Just like my two year old nephew who understands that God loves him, and that God loves him most (even more than his aunt, which is hard to fathom), we’re all invited to live securely in that very same love. Our world is broken, and sometimes our hearts feel shattered right along with it.
Since those carefree childhood days, people have left us bewildered, frustrated, misunderstood and hurt. In adulthood, circumstances have made us feel powerless, forgotten, jaded and tired. Sometimes, the concept of loving and being loved feels like an equation we just can’t solve.
But Christ offers us a love that is beautiful in its simplicity. He just keeps loving us, through our dark days and celebrations alike. His heart for us never changes, and his affection for us never wanes. It’s a mystery that we experience through our relationship with Him alone. And it’s okay if we don’t truly understand it, but that doesn’t make it any less of a reality.
Photo by (flickr CC) Daska