Like a Little Child

Humbly reaching for God’s hand

by Lizzy Cook

“Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.” And he took them up in his arms, laid his hands on them, and blessed them.
—Mark 10:14–16

When I became a mother, this small anecdote of Jesus blessing children took on great meaning. How amazing for these families to witness the Messiah pausing his preaching and healing to bless their children! I am very much looking forward to my child being baptized next week by a priest, but can you imagine if Jesus himself blessed your baby?

Jesus goes beyond blessing the children; he makes the nature of children normative for his disciples. Not only does this transform the tendency to undervalue children, but it also strikes at the core of our pride. As a new mother, I see that Jesus is calling his people to radical humility.

I was shocked at how needy my child was when he was born. His needs were and still are, at four months, almost constant! I can put him down for a few minutes to play by himself, and there are the hours when he sleeps, but the rest of the time he needs my attention to feed, change, bathe, clothe, transport, and cuddle. Gradually I’ve learned how to soothe Aidan, but it took many weeks of trying and failing to learn how to meet his needs.

God knows exactly what we need before we ask, but God does not always swoop in and fix our situations before we ask. In this passage, Jesus says our relationship with God is to be like that of children, humbly and constantly calling out to him for his help with our every need.

As I was writing the last paragraph, my baby started crying in the middle of nap time. He settled as I nursed him, and I let him sleep in my arms. What a sweet moment! However, my back began to ache. My mind started to wander, and I wished I could check my e-mail. Finally, he woke up. I changed him, dressed him and sat down with him in my lap to write. Within minutes, his new diaper smelled suspicious. As I rushed back to his changing table for maintenance, a pot boiled over on the stove. We got into our third outfit of the day, and I put him down to play with some toys on the floor while I salvaged my lunch. After a few minutes, he began to fuss. Nursing him did not calm him down, so I changed his outfit again (were his pants too tight?), and I walked with him outside looking at flowers in the yard. About five minutes later I realized he was asleep! Indeed, it was ten minutes into nap time.

This is a typical two hours of motherhood, and I’ve gotten used to the fact that it constantly exposes my limitations. When trying to give Aidan what he needs, I often misjudge the situation. Just as I am about to dole out the Tylenol in desperation, I realize it’s just nap time, or he needs a diaper change, or he is too hot.

Thankfully God’s care is spot on. When we bring our needs to God, humbling ourselves, we can hold out our hands like little children, day by day, moment by moment, to receive from our Father the gifts of his Son and his tender care!

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