Jesus said, "That unless we change and become as a little child, we cannot enter the kingdom of heaven". Matthew 18:3
Hindsight may be pretty clear, but perception is often cloudy. Somehow without even noticing it, I had grown old and forgot. Somehow I had opened the door to things like fear and shame and closed it to trust, faith and love. I hadn't lost my love and honour of Jesus, but I had lost focus. Stuff was piling up and I wanted to be rid of it.
Don't worry; I'm not suggesting a literal return to childhood like a magical time warp out of reality! That would be denial (and insanity!). What I have desperately pursued though over the years is to know the purity and self abandonment that I see in this picture. Yes, that's me when I was 3 or 4. The freedom that a little child possesses is incredible and the most fascinating part is that they are free without even knowing or caring that they are!
It wasn't until we went through some incredibly painful times that my eyes started to open to the fact that I needed to change. I wanted to be that child again!
So, I confess, I am a bit of a bulldozer at times! If I see a problem, I want to go at it and fix the whole thing -- spit spot!!! Fortunately, that is not the way that wisdom walks and not the way that God works. I found that He honoured my quest and heart cry for He loves immensely, but He tapered it with His methods and timing. Hindsight shows me all of this, but in the moment I had my doubts.
“We don't yet see things clearly. We're squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won't be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We'll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!”
God does not expect us to “see” it all at once. My husband once pointed out to me that if we could see everything that God wanted to deal with in us... we would probably die :). It would simply be too overwhelming. God is the only one capable of bearing everything; in fact, He did so years ago on the cross. He is the One who is all knowing, I am not capable of this. It has been enough for me to ‘get it’ one step at a time so that my spirit would not be crushed and feel defeated. We are all on a journey. Our responsibility is to listen for that knocking (Revelation 3:20), that small voice of the Holy Spirit. He comes at just the right time to sit down and have a meal with us; to nourish and teach us if we’ll let Him. God knows what we can bear and what will cause our lives to thrive. He is wisdom. He is love and His desire for us is to know that and to be one with us.
There is an interesting example that God gives us in scripture regarding this. He was giving instructions to Israel before they entered the Promised Land, a large territory that would need to be conquered. He explains to them that He would go ahead of them causing the occupying nations to leave but, He would not do it all in one fell swoop. Listen to what God says to Israel in Exodus 23:29-30:
“I will not drive them out from before you in one year, lest the land become desolate and the wild beasts multiply against you. 30 Little by little I will drive them out from before you, until you have increased and possess the land.” (ESV)
Don’t you just love God! You see if this was up to me, I would have planned a mass invasion to get in and get settled as fast as possible; you know: 'Get on with the program' kind of thinking! I mean, after all, they had only been waiting to get there for 40 years! But what God in His wisdom knew, was that they would not have been able to sustain everything and hang on to the land if they took too much at one time. They needed to follow His strategic lead, getting rooted and established, growing, and then moving on to the next phase of advancement.
Our human limitations are known to God. He knows what we can handle and will only work to benefit us, leading us ‘little by little’ or ‘from glory to glory’.
Our responsibility is to be willing to simply take a step toward Him, asking Him what He wants to show us today... to be willing to change. This is where I enter the kingdom of heaven.