Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"
Children are very important people who need Good News, not Bad. Jesus is very severe with people who harm children spiritually--that is, pastors, or parents, or teachers who tell them Bad News instead of the pure, true “gospel” that He commanded us to tell everybody (Matt. 18:6).
When it’s our turn to tell the children’s story in the church service, we must beg Him to help us do it right, to tell them something that will turn their little feet toward the kingdom of God, and not vice versa.
Sometimes I would make it into a game that a child could play with me. Here's what would happen: I would tell the child that all I want him to do is to go for a walk with me down the aisle of the church, and hold on to my hand. That’s all!
So, the trusting child, smiling a bit sheepishly, stands with me there in front of everybody and holds my hand. Then I take off in high gear down the aisle with the child left behind, not having taken a step, because of course there was no hanging on.
Then, after “chiding” the child for not holding on to my hand as I told him to do, I say, “Now let’s try it again; and this time instead of you holding on to my hand as we go for a walk, let me hold you by the hand. Then we take off and I hold on tight.
The point is, being saved in God’s kingdom does not depend on you holding on to God’s hand, because you and I and all of us are too weak to hang on. But it depends on us believing that He is holding tight to our hand.
He says so: “I, the Lord your God, will hold your right hand, saying to you, ‘Fear not; I will help you’” (Isa. 41:13).
The idea is not that we must take the initiative in our salvation and start the process going; we must believe that His love for us takes the initiative; it’s an important point that must not be twisted or distorted. It’s “God [who] so loved the world that He gave …” It’s not we who persuaded Him to love us!
You and He are crossing this busy street of worldly traffic and you are the little child. Your Father is not going to let you run across the street on your own. He is going to hold you tightly by His hand. (True, if you are perverse, you can wriggle yourself out of His hand; a child can do that, and then the consequences could be severe.)
You don’t want to do that, do you? Respond to His constant gripping of your hand.
--Robert J. Wieland
From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: January 27, 2007.
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