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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The Kingdom of Heaven Belongs to Such as These

     Last night at dinner, my husband and I stared at each other in shocked amusement as Ephie reached his little hand carefree-as-could-be over the macaroni and cheese my husband was offering him and helped himself to a few choice French fries instead. He didn't even look up as if to say, "Is this ok?" as he shoveled them into his little button mouth. Eyebrows raised, my husband and I could only gape at him as we wondered whether to laugh or scold him.
We chose neither and continued on with our dinner after exchanging surprised smirks. However, I couldn't help but wonder at the trust of this child. With total ease and complete faith he simply took what his little heart desired and, in all innocence and humility, what he knew his father would not deny him. "Wow!" I thought. "This must be how our Heavenly Father desires us to come to Him."  
  
Ephraim wanted that French fry and he just instinctively knew in his little heart that his father would not deny him that joy. I believe this is how we are to approach the Lord - total and complete trust that He loves us and wants to bless us. When we approach the Lord hesitantly with our prayers, it can become a slippery slope right down to doubting His goodness. I have experienced this many times and I can tell you from experience, it is the crack in the door the enemy longs for. A very good friend recently reminded me of the oldest trick in the book (and I mean LITERALLY the oldest trick in the book). Back in the day when Adam and Eve were hanging out and living life in the beautiful sanctuary of Eden, satan came along and used doubt to trick Eve into disobeying God. We all know the rest of that story!
Now, am I saying that we should just expect the Lord to give us whatever we want, whenever we want it? Absolutely not! If God always just gave us whatever we wanted, wouldn't He be harming us instead of helping us most of the time? If your child said he wanted to go up to the roof of the house and jump off because he wanted to fly would you let him? In the same way we, as children of God, do not always know what is good or right (or even safe) for ourselves. So, while we cannot expect to get every little thing we desire in our hearts (because God is merciful and loving) we ought to approach Him always expecting His goodness. That even if we do not receive what we have prayed for we can know it is for our own good and because HE LOVE US! 
I am quite certain if my husband had told Ephraim, "No, you can have the macaroni I am offering you instead of the French fry" Ephraim, being the child he is, would have been just fine with that. Why? Because he knows who his father is. No matter what happens in his tiny world, he knows without a doubt his father (or mother) will be there to protect and shelter him. He trusts his father wholly and completely because he has never known not to. He may not always like our decisions as parents but he will always (sometimes kicking and screaming) follow us. This is what Jesus was talking about when he told his disciples "Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”
"For the mountains may be removed and the hills may shake,
But My lovingkindness will not be removed from you,
And My covenant of peace will not be shaken"
Says the Lord who has compassion on you.
Isaiah 54:10

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