I’ve been learning something this last week. And I’ve been learning this from an 8 year old. Her name is Kristen. Now I don’t usually mention names in posts, and if I do I usually change them. But I don’t feel I should do that this time.
I love how Father uses the simplicity of a child to teach us about himself. If we can receive them, just as Jesus did, Father can teach us so much about himself, his Son and the Kingdom.
On Thursday of last week my youngest son, Micah, and I went for a cup of tea with Alan, Sarah and Kristen. They and the rest of their family have moved into Farnborough, a short distance from our house. We had a great time, shared Life together, and then just as we were leaving this little girl who didn’t know me before that day came and gave us both a hug as we were leaving.
Then last Sunday the boys and I decided to go to Waverley Abbey ruins for the afternoon. We invited Alan, Sarah and Kristen. It’s always good to take people to these local gems for the first time. Plus it would be fun! We arrived at their house, I got out the car, their front door opened and Kristen ran out and almost knocked me over as she jumped at me and hugged me. Thankfully I managed to catch her! But what a wonderful welcome to receive.
I’ve always felt that children are a wonderful gauge of Christ in us. Children were drawn to Jesus. They still are drawn to Jesus, in us. It’s the simplicity. They receive and respond to his love, to his affection. I’m sure there is a simplicity and a reality to Jesus that children love. In the course of a conversation with Sarah on Monday evening, she mentioned how my Dad says that Kristen’s welcome of him is lovely, but that she isn’t like that with everyone.
On Tuesday Alan, Toby (my eldest) and myself went to Aldershot. We met Alan at their house, and he drove us. When we got back to their house later on, Toby and I were about to walk home and I heard a shout inside “Who’s with you?” The next thing I know I was having to prep myself for another catch! And another wonderful ‘hello.’ And she also gave Toby a big hug too. Unprompted and totally spontaneous. Father and son!
Tuesday evening it dawned on me. Sarah mentioned the day before about the welcome my Dad receives from Kristen. I realised that in the past, people have said to me “I’ll just talk to you, cause it’s the same as talking to your Dad.” I never really understood that until one day I realised that it’s a sign of the relationship Jesus has with the Father. But even more than that, it’s a sign of the relationship he brings us into with our Father. It’s a sign to us that when people see us, they see the Father. For that’s exactly how Jesus says it is for him. “If you see me, you see the Father.” That is how it is for him, and that is how it should be for us. When people see us, do they see the Father? Do they feel appreciated, loved, accepted, and welcomed? Are they encouraged, strengthened, blessed?
And so this 8 year old girl was a sign to me this last week. It’s not that I’m anything special in myself. Far from it! The first thing I realised was that, for her, I and my father are one. She treats me as she treats my father. She loves and appreciates me as she does my father. And she jumps at me to be caught and hugged as she does with my father! But it’s more than that too! I see it. My father and I are one spirit. She sees that. She hasn’t had to think about it. With the simplicity of a child she has responded to the spirit in me, because it’s the same spirit in my father. Do you see what I’m trying to explain? She greets me as she greets him! Same spirit, oneness.
Through Kristen, Jesus is teaching me afresh about oneness. It’s not just that I’m one spirit with my earthly father. It is that I am one spirit with my heavenly Father also. She is drawn without fear or caution, and feels free to give and receive the love that is Jesus himself. She responds naturally and effortlessly to the One. There is a safety, love and acceptance for people as they see the Father when they see us. People will respond to us just as Kristen does when they see the Father in us.
I actually believe that any child, not just those who go to church or have a church background, will be drawn to the Life within us, as the longing within each is to know the Father. To be at home, loved, accepted, safe, and appreciated. Let me encourage you to watch out for how children respond to you. Their simplicity and innocence seems to open them up to the Life himself. They respond to reality, not in a complicated way, but in a beautiful way all of their own. They respond to Jesus himself. They are drawn to him. They seem to be able to see right through us adults and know whether they are seeing the Father. Or not.
They know that Jesus won’t turn them away, but he says “Let the little children come.” They are a wonderful gauge of our own consciousness of Christ in us.
This may not make much sense to you. It may not mean anything to you. But it might to someone! But I share it because it did to me, and it did to Sarah. And maybe, sub-consciously as I know she’s really not thinking about it at all, it does to Kristen. It makes sense in a simple, non-complicated, “I don’t have to think about or work this out” way. It makes sense in a way that brings freedom to love as he loves. Without reservation.
Eat the Bread, drink the Living Water. May those around us be drawn to us, and may they see the Father.