In April 2005, my husband John came home from work and said, “I’m going to Shanghai next week for work!” Now you have to know that neither John nor I had been world travelers and haven’t even really had that on our “bucket list”. The idea of his going (by himself, mind you) to Shanghai was very terrifying…to both of us! As he was preparing to go, he was prayed over and encouraged by our kinship/small group to trust the Lord in this test to his faith.
I took him to the Dayton airport very early the morning of his departure. After John checked his bags, I cried, kissed him good-by, and prayed. He slowly made his way in the serpentine line through which he had to go to get scanned. Then he would be out of sight and on to the gate.
There he was -- my tall, kind, gentle soul of a husband. I knew he was scared, and I was scared for him. All of a sudden, as clear as a bell, the small Voice: “John is just a little child, locked up in an adult body, trying to live an adult life in an adult world.” What did that mean? I would soon find out…
When I walked out of the airport to go to the car, what had been pitch-blackness (because of the early morning hour) had been transformed into the most beautiful, crystal clear, spring morning. I just couldn’t go back home on the interstate on a morning like this! I had to ride through the country. So I left and went north, not knowing where I’d end up.
I soon found myself in the parking lot of one of my favorite places: Charleston Falls Nature Preserve. Normally, I don’t go to remote places by myself, but I sensed the Voice drawing me on.
As I walked down the path, I thought of our son-in-law Nate, who just a few days earlier had left for Djibouti, Africa. I pictured him in his Air Force camouflage, saying good-by to our daughter Beth, his wife of less than a year. And the Voice came again, “Nate is just a little child, locked up in an adult body, trying to live an adult life in an adult world.”
I walked on. I remembered our son Jeremy a few years earlier, diagnosed with thyroid cancer at age 20. He was scared but trusting God. Again the Voice, “Jeremy is just a little child, locked up in an adult body, trying to live an adult life in an adult world.”
Then the truth dawned upon me: We are ALL little children, locked up in adult bodies, trying to live adult lives in and an adult world. And the only way we can do that is by living as little children with our Abba Father God!
I thought about Jesus, the Perfect Child of His Father. How did He live?
He lived in dependence upon His Father. Jesus said, The Son can do nothing by Himself; He can only do what He sees His Father doing. John 5:19
He lived secure in His Father’s love. For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself is doing. John 5:20
He lived in submission to His Father’s will. In the Garden of Gethsemane, the night before His crucifixion, Jesus prayed, My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will. Matthew 26:39
He lived with His Father in trust & vulnerability. In the days of His flesh, He offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears to the One who is able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His reverence. Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things He suffered. Hebrews 5:7
This is good news, because the Perfect Child of the Father lives in me (Col 1:27).
He lives His Child-life through me as I surrender to Him! So now I know I don’t always have to have it all together. I can be vulnerable with my Abba and trust that He will enable me, through His indwelling Son, to live an adult life in an adult world till He calls me home!
I love a song that Twila Paris wrote and recorded many years ago in response to a teaching by an elder in her church. He spoke about being childlike before God. The elder had said that we don’t need to act “tough and brave”. We can cry before our Father and trust Him to work in our lives. That really struck home with Twila, because she had sensed that people were putting her on a pedestal because of her rising popularity as a singer and song-writer. And so she wrote the song, “The Warrior is a Child”. Maybe you will be able to identify with message of this song as I did:
Lately I've been winning battles left and right But even winners can get wounded in the fight People say that I'm amazing Strong beyond my years But they don't see inside of me I'm hiding all the tears
They don't know that I go running home when I fall down They don't know who picks me up when no one is around I drop my sword and cry for just a while 'Cause deep inside this armor The warrior is a child
Unafraid because His armor is the best But even soldiers need a quiet place to rest People say that I'm amazing Never face retreat But they don't see the enemies That lay me at His feet
They don't know that I go running home when I fall down They don't know who picks me up when no one is around I drop my sword and look up for a smile 'Cause deep inside this armor the warrior is a child
“You are from God, little children, and…greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.” (1 John 4:4)