Inspired by Luke 18:15-17
“But Jesus called for them and said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and 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.’” Luke 18:16-17 (NRSV)
There are many words we use to describe children: innocent, unquestioning, pliable. These are characteristics that don’t last long into adulthood, and once gone can never be regained. Nor should they be; functioning and well-adjusted adults need to be wise, questioning, and willing to take a stand. And God does not require us to disregard our experience or abandon the use of our faculties in order to enter into his kingdom.
What he does require is that we share our responsibilities with him and trust him to do what we cannot. Another aspect of healthy childhood is the knowledge and understanding that we can’t do many things ourselves; we rely on others to take care of us and see that we have what we need. We know we haven’t earned good things with our works, but we expect to receive them anyway, because we know we are loved by the adults around us. That is how God wants us to receive the kingdom. Expectantly, knowing that we’ve not earned it, but trusting that God wants to give it to us out of his boundless love for us. If we believe that the kingdom is our rightful due because of what we’ve accomplished, then it’s not the kingdom of God that we seek.
Even if your childhood wasn’t as idyllic as it should or could have been, the kingdom of God is still for you, perhaps especially for you. God’s love will not fail, and his promises can be trusted. Put your burdens on him, and he will help you carry them. God will honor your experience and your questions, and he will receive you with joy and thanksgiving.
Let us pray. Faithful God, you offer us your kingdom out of your endless love and compassion. Help us to trust in your goodness, that we may lay our burdens on you and receive your kingdom expectantly. Through Christ our Lord, Amen.