Lemme tell you, there is nothing and I mean nothing better than hearing little kiddos praise the Lord, recite Scripture, and grow in confidence because they are understanding truth. The truth that they are made in the image of God, that the Lord comes to the rescue and that they can stand in his unshakeable love because he has overcome the world.
Watching them learn how to encourage their teammates and conquer their fears as they try new things has been inspiring.
Hearing their curiosity and amazement when you tell them about how loved they are by God and that “no it does not take lots of good works for you to get into heaven,” is incredible.
Watching them declare their love for the Lord and claiming him as their Savior made me cry.
It has been in action childlike faith.
These “little people” were growing and learning and loving Jesus more each day right in front of my eyes! In spite of losing parents, living in broken homes, insecurities, fears, anxieties, etc. these kiddos were so dang full of joy.
It was especially convicting for myself and other leaders at the church when a guy my age suddenly passed away. We were forced to take these lessons and truths that we were telling our kiddos every day and decide for ourselves whether or not we were going to believe them and live it out.
Were we going to stand in the unshakeable love of God? Were we going to believe that He comes to the rescue each time? Were we going to shout praises so loud and confident that the darkness would tremble? Were we going to run to Jesus for everything, just like we had been teaching all summer long?
Were we going to live with joy?
Matthew 19 recounts the story of the disciples rebuking the children who wanted to come to Jesus and then Jesus rebuking the disciples because he wanted to spend time with the children.
“Then children were brought to him that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked the people, but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” And he laid his hands on them and went away.” - Matthew 19:13-15
This story is a short and simple one and yet Jesus’ love of the children and desire to have them come to him is powerful. We were not meant to live the Christian life on our own. Jesus wants us to engage with him daily, to run to him without reservation, like a little kid.
I think the easiest answer to my last question about living with joy is found by simply running, skipping, shouting to him and being in his presence.
Psalm 16:11 says “in His presence there is fullness of joy.” Not fleeting happiness. Not a smile every once in awhile. It is full on joy that only makes sense because of the never ending love of God.
When a parent passes, when a friend dies, when sickness strikes, when tragedy falls, when brokenness is all around we can still find joy running to and resting in the presence of the Lord. It does not mean that life will be easy, but that we can find comfort no matter what.
While a summer spent with little ones left me knowing hand motions to a dozen songs, experienced in planning water days and camp games and an expert at building camp sets, it also humbled me and taught me more than I expected.
Childlike faith is simple. Run to Jesus with your every need and in Him you will find a peace that surpasses all understanding and an unbelievable joy.