A few of our littles lately have been allll about the helping. It's a brilliant yet sometimes maddening stage. Parents of toddlers, you know. We encourage them to help while simultaneously biting back the frustration from our tongues. And often the help when too overly enthusiastic ends up looking a whole lot like getting in the way or worse, of sometimes thwarting the efforts and undoing what's already been done. And that's where yesterday's Gospel spoke to me. The one that includes Christ's exhortation to accept like a child.
There's a whole lot of ways that can be made manifest, I suppose. The unwounded child trusts much, loves hard, and accepts with joy. There is innocence and lack of over thinking in his heart. The child knows his dependence and therein finds his peace and security. All of that I think is true and what He may be talking about. But this week as those words were read I realized just how much the little child yearns to help and be a part of what dad is doing. And how our heavenly Father is very much like that patient dad letting His child work with Him on the tasks of the Kingdom.
Oh, how I want to help!
A little girl I am, clamoring to be a part of the work, wanting to play a role in the story.
Let me do it, Lord! I wanna help! Pleeease??? Can I help?!?
And oh, how endlessly patient my Father is with me! Trying to guide my hand gently when I want to go in with a bang. Helping me carefully measure out the ingredient before I dump. (And me often dumping too soon, too much, or the wrong thing altogether.) How very much He must hide a laugh at my initial enthusiasm. How I must drag out His work sometimes in my own ignorance of the skill. Oh, how I know He must sometimes work behind the scenes to mitigate the damage I might cause in my overzealousness. So many a time have I been thrilled to be a part of the project and yet any wiser one could clearly see that the work was happening despite me not because of me. How many times has He had to correct my mistakes or stop me when the work was too high above my skill level? Sweetheart, I have to do this part now. How many times has He watched me mess it all up? Countless, I know.
And yet His patience abounds. He could do the work without me, no doubt. Any of it. All of it. He would do it easier and faster and better in every way. Yet He still asks if I'd like to tag along. Like a loving dad He recognizes the worth of the work and how the more valuable goal is not necessarily getting the job done but teaching me how to be like Him. For some reason, He chooses to have this little one play a part, despite the mistakes and despite the blind eye toward the overall end result. He takes my feeble attempts, my overenthusiastic ideas and somehow turns them into work for Him. Like the man in my home who lets these little ones work alongside him with the patience of a saint, so my Heavenly Father allows this little girl to be a part of His work, more often than not despite herself.
May I accept the kingdom, and whatever work He may have for me in it, like a little child. May my hand learn to be pliant and my eyes focused as He guides me through the tasks. May I hear His voice before I act and may His gentle mercy continue to correct the many mistakes I will undoubtedly make along the way.
Lord, may this little child better learn from You how to be like You.
Helping to fix the washing machine. Clearly.
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