Recently I found myself finally able to articulate a bit better how Jesus in a child ministers so deeply to me.
You see, so often I have these little moments with children that so captivate me. The moments come and they go so quickly if I only experience them in linear time. But I have learned to experience these moments in my spirit man. And in my spirit a moment can hover over me long after the linear time, moment, or second has passed.
These children, their experiences and their most pure knowledge of the Lord. When they communicate it to me in a few passing seconds or moments of time, with very simple and succinct words… it goes deep and echoes inside of me for weeks and sometimes even years.
They know and experience deeply the reality of Jesus and of His presence so close to them. In my spirit when I am with them I am sitting at their feet – that is my heart’s posture with them – and I drink of Him right there, and I weep, and I wash His feet with my humble tears of complete awe, and honor, and gratitude, and worship. And so many times something about their stories awakens my longing for Him. I find myself led into His heart to pray, and intercede for them. For His love, His belief, and His presence is so full for each one.
There is nothing that draws me to worship Jesus more than the spirit of a child. There is nothing in my life that continually puts me right in front of His face more than a child. Their presence in my life has led me to Him time and again.
An example of this recently:
I was sitting with a small group of children and we were talking about Psalms 23. We were specifically talking about Jesus being our shepherd and what it means for Him to lead us to green pastures and beside still waters. We began to talk about why. Why these places specifically. I had them list the words they thought of that describe this. Words like peace, being fed, safety, washing, rest, drinking water, saving, going after the one missing, etc. I honestly can’t remember all of what they put on the board, but these are the ones I do remember.
Then, I had the children look at the board with all their words on it and I had them pick one that they feel they relate to. One of those words that they can testify that Jesus is their Shepherd in that way and tell us their story.
We went around the circle and every child got to share… and I still cannot stop hearing their testimonies. Their stories. Such real moments where they knew Jesus’ presence so clearly with them, protecting them and helping them in real places of vulnerability.
“One time I was on a rollercoaster and at the top of the hill, the bars that were supposed to hold me in my seat, they came all the way up…”
“One time, my dad and I came home and found our house was broke into…”
“One time I had a really bad BAD dream…”
And on and on they shared… real life, real moments… and then they said things like this: “But I know God kept me safe.” “I know God was with me.” “God gave me peace when I was scared.”
And I was undone. I could feel Him… so so close. My whole spirit just calls out to worship Him.
Oh He is so completely amazing. His protection and presence. His peace. His reality.
And children don’t try to explain the moments in any way other than the Lord. “He held me in.” “He kept me safe.” “He was right there with me.”
Another example from a bit longer ago:
I was reading with a child. Just a normal children’s book. I think it might have been Bernstein Bears or something. We were sitting there reading and I noticed something was wrong with this girl’s lower leg. I knew that she had been through a lot and that she had recently been adopted by a new family, but I didn’t know anything beyond that. It didn’t even dawn on me that this abnormality with her leg could be related to that.
I asked her “What happened to your leg? Is everything ok?”
Immediately she began to tell me her story. It was more heartbreaking than I could have ever been prepared for.
I put the book we had been reading down and just listened.
The physical abuse this young child has endured is beyond what I can give words to. And she remembers it fully… just as though it happened yesterday.
At one point as she was sharing with me she looked into my eyes and said “Do you know how God died? I know how God died.”
She paused and then she looked off into the distance, almost like she was looking right at Jesus, into His eyes, and then at His scars… at His marks of abuse. A few tears pooled in her eyes “I sure am glad that I am not Him.”
I still find myself caught in that moment so often, and I just want to weep.
This beautiful child knows suffering. And she relates deeply to the Person of Jesus in His suffering… in His death even.
A few seconds of silence went by, and then I softly responded, my whole heart undone inside but trying to keep myself together “Yes. Me too.”
After a few more seconds passed I offered oh so humbly and gently something to this effect… I can’t remember it all so well because my heart was so wrecked “And He is alive now, and He really cares about you.”
Oh Jesus. Thank You. Thank You for Your perfect, holy love. Thank You for Your perfect, holy heart and presence with children… even in their most painful moments… You never leave their side.
There are so many stories. It happens over and over again. Children. Just spend time with them. Stop trying so hard… and just be with them… humbly. They will make you laugh a lot. And then there will come along one of these moments where your heart will break with theirs, and it will lead you straight to the face, and the heart, and the presence of Jesus… and everything within you will fall at His feet. Undone before Him.
He is near. Near to the childlike heart. When they are broken, suffering and scared. When they are silly, laughing and full of energy. Near in their joy and sorrow. And the spirit of children knows it. They know Him, and they know He faithfully cares for them and loves them. Oh the reality of Jesus. Let us find His face like they have.