Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 19:14)
God favors those who walk in agreement with His Word, who are surrendered to His will, and who depend completely on Him.
I recently watched some grandkids entertain themselves with toys at their grandfather’s (Papi) home. It was amusing and interesting. I noticed the two smaller children seemed quite content playing with plastic lids and measuring cups. The two older children held techno-gadgets that completely distanced and distracted them. They all gravitated to something more aligned with their maturity level.
I also noticed the smaller ones had no hesitancy running into Papi’s embrace while the older ones, more familiar, we’re reserved, more dignified, though still lovingly friendly.
When teasingly asked which was his favorite, Papi said, “Of course I’m partial to the one who smiles at me, running to me with arms upraised.” Yes, he dearly loves all his grandkids and children. But as a dad myself, there is just something that tugs at a father’s heart when a child or grandchild willingly and excitedly runs into his arms.
I believe God responds the same way with His children. Sure, He loves us all (John 3:16) and has no partiality (Romans 2:11). But several Scriptural themes lead me to believe certain behaviors tug at His heart and make Him smile.
- Childlike innocence and trust (faith)
- Complete surrender and reliance (obedience)
- Squeals of excitement (worship)
- Honest cries for help (prayer)
- Weary, sleepy souls and broken hearts (rest)
- Listening wide-eyed to a story (His Word)
- Father / Child time spent snuggling and holding hands (fellowship)
- Family resemblance and characteristics (love) – “That’s My child!”
- Rocking when troubled (comfort)
Instead of growing used to God’s presence, familiar with His Word, and entitled to His blessings, may we:
- Remember our childlike traits upon first coming to Christ for salvation
- Rely on Him completely, waiting expectantly for His supernatural surprises
- Run into His embrace and sit in His presence, listening quietly as He tells us of Himself
- Relish His fellowship and never grow too old or spiritually mature to not open our hearts to Him completely
May He be the first one we run to with “Dad, I’ve got something to tell You!” May He be the one we turn to with “Dad, I need Your help” or “Dad, I need to bounce something off You and get Your input.” May He be the last one we turn to with “Goodnight, Dad. Thank You for a great day.” Most of all, may we never grow to spiritually stodgy, frigid, familiar, or distracted to run into our Heavenly Papi’s arms.