I have a few moments quiet as the boys are out chasing sheep at the farm down the road. When the call came in you would have thought they'd just been offered tickets to Six Flags. Paul likes to tell me how much fun it is to catch them because they are so dumb. And soft. He likes the lambs. God has a lot to say about sheep, not all of it complimentary!
I've been thinking a lot about kids (not sheep) and this particular scripture passage: And they (parents) were bringing children to Him so that He might touch them, but the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw this, he was indignant and said to them, "Permit the children to come to Me; do not hinder them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these ..." Mark 10:13-14
I wish someone had sat me down when I was a new parent and explained this scripture to me. Not in its obvious context but what is between the lines. It would have saved me so much grief and heartache. I love my children dearly but I am so like the disciples in this verse. I rebuke my children often. Why? Because they annoy me. They get in my way. They are messy. They do dumb things that children do.
The disciples sound like me - tired, distracted, trying to keep control of the situation. Maybe some of the children running around them that day were their own. Maybe the babies were pulling their beards. Maybe one of the kids was sick and threw up on their sandals. Kids are the same in any century! Look at all that's going on in this verse - wow! The disciples were irritated - these kids were clearly not on their agenda for the day.
But I love Jesus's response. He was indignant. Not with the children but with the disciples! "Permit the children to come to Me; do not hinder them ..." Jesus was the perfect Father. Never hurried. Never distracted. Never upset with a mess. I think he laughed when they pulled his beard and I think He had great compassion when, heaven forbid, they were sick on his sandals.
Until lately, I used to think my kids were hindering my spiritual life. It's hard sometimes to find a peaceful corner to be still and pray or read your Bible. And this is what I wish I had learned early on - that caring for children day to day does more for my spiritual life than anything else I can think of. Children take you through a spiritual transformation the likes of which you have never seen.
I wish early on my attitude had been like Jesus - let them come, let them interrupt and make a mess and keep you up for nights on end crying or sick, let them embarrass you or break that beloved heirloom on the shelf, let them snag your fishing line or spill a 40 oz coke in your clean car, etc. Let them be kids and train them with open arms and a smile. Let them see Jesus in you.