One day while Jesus was walking down the dusty roads in the Galilee, the disciples asked him a classic Jewish question: “Rabbi, who is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven?”
And Jesus settled his eyes on a few children playing in the distance… “the Kingdom belongs to these children.”
There is something innocent about the way children run and play. They laugh obnoxiously loud, and squeal with delight at the slightest revelation! Without concern of grass-stains on skinned knees, they climb and explore and wrestle and imitate without reservation.
Have you ever seen a child doing yoga? Just trying to “find my center”. No! They don’t worry about the growing pile of bills on the counter, or what they are going to do about the raising gas prices. There is an assumed confidence in the Sovereignty and Omnipotence of their Daddy…
Lately, I have been observing with greater intensity, my own three daughters. Mariah (8), Ambria (5), and Ashlyn (1.5) are taking their awkward first steps, skinning their knees, and experiencing new emotions every day. They are probably creating emotions that have yet to be named!
I want so desperately to protect their hearts. I want to scoop them up onto my lap, and to advise them: “Guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life!” And to further warn, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick!”
Because something dangerous happens whenever we give our hearts away to the wrong people or things. We become jaded, skeptical, and intentionally withdrawn. Given enough time and painful experiences, the heart can only experience so much trauma before it needs antidepressant medication to function.
Jesus says, “Blessed are the Pure in Heart”.
Blessed are the children. They will see the face of their Heavenly Father.
As a Father, there is nothing I would not do for my girls. I would give them the clothes off my back, the food off my plate… I would lay down my life for them!
For the past several months we have been noticing that our baby Ashlyn has not been developing as she should be. She isn’t walking or talking. She couldn’t roll over, and her motor skills seemed to be lacking. So after many tests with pediatricians, she has been assigned to a Physical Therapist who has been working with her to develop muscle strength and coordination. And although she has shown signs of improvement, she still lags behind with “Global Developmental Delays”.
Last monday we scheduled an MRI to get some answers for the reason behind the delays. The next afternoon, the hospital called to report that Xray results discovered that Ashlyn has a Chiari Malformation; an abnormality in her brain. She has been referred to a Neurosurgeon for possible brain surgery.
We have been relentlessly researching and as we anxiously await our next steps, our hearts break for the unknown future! We have been told that she might not ever “run and play”, and that the brain is pushing down into her spinal cord, affecting her coordination and balance…
As she has been undergoing medical evaluations, my heart breaks every time they have to draw her blood. Last week she looked at me for help, as tears streamed down her little face. And there was nothing I could do but to turn away from the scene.
And I began to more deeply understand the love of the Heavenly Father as he was torn from the scene: “Abba! My God ~ Why have your forsaken me?”
Ashlyn has a beautiful heart. She is an adorable baby girl with an infectious smile! She is so innocent and precious; to think of her being in any kind of physical or psychological pain is almost too much for me to comprehend. I am shattered, altogether, at the foot of cross.
I believe that Ashlyn’s healing will be found through the scars of the crucified One, who atoned for our debts and has reconciled this broken world to Himself. My hope is viewed through the lens of a post-easter worldview, and the tomb is empty!