Growing into Childlikeness
by David Ward
One of my favorite literary works beyond the Bible is a poem called “Footprints.” There is a great message about God and His help during our hour of need. More specifically, it is a dialogue between a man and God, and the two are on a beach reviewing the man’s life. In that conversation, the man questions God about His absence during his times of need. That was because the man only saw one set of footprints in the sand. However, God responded, and like a loving father speaking to His son with love and gentle correction, He informed the man that it was during those times that He carried him. God had a similar conversation with the people of Israel in the book of Deuteronomy when He reminded His people, through Moses, of the life that He saved them from. Specifically, Deuteronomy 1:29-31:
“Then I said to you, ‘Do not be terrified; do not be afraid of them. The Lord your God, who is going before you, will fight for you, as he did for you in Egypt, before your eyes, and in the desert. There you saw how the Lord your God carried you, as a father caries his son, all the way you went until you reached this place’” (NIV 1984).
These verses help demonstrate one of the most unique and appealing attributes about the God we follow: He is incredibly relational. A relational God is often built into the subject of my blogs, and this blog is no different. Nevertheless, the Bible frequently uses words such as father (Romans 8:14-17), son (Romans 8:14-17), and bridegroom (Revelation 19:7, Ephesians 5:25-27) to describe how we relate to the various parts of the triune God (Matthew 28:18-20). These relationships are incredibly important because they also have earthly precedent. For example, this summer my wife and I welcomed our second child into the world. A little girl named Eleanor Rae. Now, at 30 years old, I am married with a son, Jackson, and a daughter we call Ella. Moreover, taking another overview of my life, I am in the middle of a generational continuum were I have the tendencies of a son with my earthly parents, but also the responsibility of being a father. However, what is more important, especially in this blog about relationships, is these earthly relationships which, along with the power of the Holy Spirit, leads us into greater understanding and building of our relationship with God. Moreover, for this blog, the relationship of a son is most important.
I began this blog several months ago when God brought me, or quite possibly is still bringing me, through a growing season. As many are likely aware, growing seasons are not always pleasant. Nevertheless, they are good (Proverbs 22:15). Sparing all the details, the revelation of my error occurred when God spoke to my heart and reminded me of King David in 2 Samuel 24. In this chapter, King David learned a tough lesson when he issued an order to determine the size of the Israeli army. The Bible makes it clear that David’s error was trading trust in God for statistics (2 Samuel 24:10). I made the same error this year, and my error led me to a breaking point where I realized, throughout my whole life, how much I depend on myself rather than God (Proverbs 11:2). More importantly, it was also throughout this season that God kept opening my eyes to my son Jackson.
One of Christ’s greatest sermons was when He instructed us to become like a child (Matthew 18:3), that a child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 18:4). Why? This is not to be confused with apostle Paul’s lesson about doing away with childish behavior (1 Corinthians 13:11). Nevertheless, this season God opened my eyes to my relationship with my son to bring me greater understanding of Christ’s message in His sermon. Like I stated above, our earthly relationships can teach us about our relationships with God. As I look at my son, he does not worry about food, money, clothes, health or any of his other needs like I do. Instead, he is more focused on simply playing with Mommy or Daddy. Moreover, just because he is my son, my love covers him when he gets in trouble. My security shelters him when he is scared. My comfort eases him when he is hurt. My wisdom teaches, disciplines and corrects him when he is wrong. My security protects him when he is scared. My lead directs him when he is lost. Jackson is at all times dependent on my wife and me, and we as parents are always faithful to him. This is the same relationship we can have with our Heavenly Father, if we seek it (Matthew 6:33).
Therefore, in a word of encouragement, when the stormy season comes and the time is difficult, feed on our Father’s faithfulness, remembering that He is always faithful (2 Timothy 2:13). The evidence of God’s faithfulness is prevalent throughout our lives and in His Word. Be like a child (Matthew 18:3) and draw closer to Abba (Galatians 4:6); our Daddy will then carry us to His place of promise (Deuteronomy 1:29-31, Joshua 1:9).