A few weeks ago I was driving to work listening to the radio when I heard the words of a song that drew my interest. The basic message was remembering what it was like to be a child. The feeling that life at that time was one of an uncluttered existence. The attitude was one of that everything was ok because life seemed so manageable.
Well, some of that had to be my mind making sense out of what was coming next in the song because I received a call after the first 20 seconds or so and I needed to turn the radio off. A few days later I heard the song starting again and I was able to hear the rest of the words. And indeed the message was wanting to be a child again along with the life that is found at an early age. But there was more. Please give me a bit to come back to this.
I cannot really say I ever wanted to be a child again. Sometimes I may want to act like a child–well to be more honest sometimes I do act that way. But to be a child again and need to go through all that learning and maturing with all the issues a child needs to face? Especially in the world we live in now, it just seems to be so much work. But the adventure of doing it all over again, without a conscious memory of being an adult, sounds sort of interesting.
Back to the “more” part from earlier. The song talks about a person who found that he had gotten lost in being an adult. All the challenges he faced as an adult, jobs, competition with others, and his focus on life had grown away from that which is most important. He had allowed his adult life to change his relationship with his Savior Jesus and as he puts it “we grew apart.”
The repeating theme of the song is “I wanna go back to Jesus loves me this I know for the Bible tells me so” and to “This little light gonna let it shine.” The singer shares about having faith that could move a mountain top. However, these were all part of his life as a child and now as an adult he could no longer recognize those attributes in his faith and how he lived.
My first reaction was one of logic. Of course, as I mature physically, my life situations change and the challenges are more formidable. And as my faith grows more mature, I understand more about the Bible and–what? Has what I believe changed? No. Has Jesus changed? No. Is my faith different? No. I still believe, as I did as a child, that my Savior, Jesus, came to die for my sins and because he has, I will go to heaven. However, something seems to change for a bit when I face difficult challenges.
When I imagine the tough times my kids and my grandchildren may face, I know something has changed.
When I notice that my car is making a strange noise and it needs new tires, I know something has changed.
When there is some doubt about the contract renewal for my present employment, I really know something has changed.
The change is the one word that follows, “I know that Jesus is in control of this.” The word is BUT. Sure, I do not verbally express it. I try to avoid admitting that I have reservations with trusting God completely to take care of me and so I simply let that word, “but” play with my thoughts. And when I use but in reference to anything about myself, it is used almost exclusively as a justification for falling short of a goal. Actually what follows that word is an excuse. I am sorry, God, for that part of me.
There is a point, however, when God steps in. In 1 Corinthians 10:13 I am told “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” My temptation is to doubt that God can and will handle this issue.
The way out that he provides is, well, it reminds of that picture of a person with the devil on one shoulder and an angel on the other, fighting for the upper hand. In my case it is an actual picture of me as a three-year-old, standing in my underwear, cowboy hat and boots, holding a bunny by its ear on one of my shoulders and me as a 64 year old with white hair and beard on the other. (I wish I could delete at least one of those pictures!) And this is the exchange:
Old John: I just don’t know what to do about this problem. How will it ever get any better!
Three-year-old John: Did God make everything?
Old John: Yes, but,
Three-year-old John: Did you eat today?
Old John: Yes, but
Three-year-old John: Did Jesus die for your sins?
Old John: OK yes, but
Three-year-old John: So you can go to heaven?
Old John: Yes, again, but
Three-year-old John: And Jesus loves you?
Old John: Yes, that I do know
Three-year-old John: Ok. Wanna play cowboy?
Even as I read what I just wrote I want to say, “but that is so simplistic.” Actually faith is a lot easier than I, as an adult want to make it. Jesus said,”Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it,” Luke 18:17. I mess with that child-like faith when I want to put conditions or limits on God. I mess with that faith when I try to fit God into my life rather that live my life through him. And finally I mess with that faith when I let the “buts” in my life decide how much I trust my Savior.
Yes, I want to be a child again. I want to trust Jesus and live that way because the Bible tells me he does–no ifs, ands, or buts.
Hope you come back again, I will wait you.