It all started the week before this Christmas. We were spending a couple of weeks in Monterrey visiting my wife’s family in Mexico. One morning on our way to a church event my son said something that sent me on a journey that I am still on four months later.
As we made our way down the crowded streets of the city toward our destination, I was completely invested in my cell phone, trying to stay as up-to-date on all of the social details happening back home. My son, Aiden, then broke the silence with a question: “Dad, what do you think God wants for Christmas?”
I looked up at him and asked him to repeat his question. He was gazing out the window, looking at all the people we were passing. I could tell that this was a well thought out question, something he was pondering and really trying to figure out. He looked at me with trained eyes, “It’s just, we all get presents and buy things, but what does God want for His present? What do we get Him?” I can’t remember for the life of me what I responded, but I somehow fumbled through an answer that seemed to satisfy his curiosity for the moment.
That night, the Lord started working in my heart. I could not think of anything except the question my son had asked. How could it be that I had never thought about what my 5-year old seemed to be so passionate about? How had I overlooked this? Then, the Lord started to show me what He meant in Luke 18:17 when He said, “Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.”
God has been rocking my thinking and making me seek answers to questions I have never asked myself.
From that moment on I have paid close attention to the questions my children have about the Lord. I have been writing them down and spending time on my own to answer them. God has been rocking my thinking and making me seek answers to questions I have never asked myself. “Why are there hungry people?”; “How can we tell more people about Jesus?”; “Why didn’t we stop and talk to that man about Jesus.”; “What should I talk to God about when I pray?”
It never ceases to amaze me how God can use children in His Kingdom. It has been an amazing few months getting back to the basics of what I believe. It has strengthened my faith. And all it took was a childlike view of the world and of the Lord. There are many things that I have learned about my walk with The Lord from being a father to my children. Here are a few basic, yet important, things I have picked up along the way:
God is a friend. God is my son’s friend. He thinks about Him as such. My son wanted to get his friend something for Christmas. It was such a simple thing, yet such an example of how our relationship with God should be. We talk with our friends about everything; our decisions, our days, the good, and the bad. Sometimes, we even talk to our friends about what is happening in our lives before we take it to God. We can see in Exodus Moses spoke to God as a “man speaks to a friend.” When we have friends, we value their input and presence in our lives. As friends of God, we must value the presence of God in our lives.
my kids talked about God bringing them the bed like He was just out at the store buying it and would be dropping it off soon. So when God provided and the bunk bed did arrive, they were thankful, but not surprised.
God hears us. When my children needed a bunk bed, they knew exactly what they needed to do. They prayed and waited. The never waited in doubt. They talked about God bringing them the bed like He was just out at the store buying it and would be dropping it off soon. So when God provided and the bunk bed did arrive, they were thankful, but not surprised. They knew God heard them. They never doubted it. It must be why Jesus says in Matthew 18:3 that we must “become like little children.” A child knows who their Provider is, and doesn’t have the doubt that we grown-ups often have. We have to know that God is listening to us, and we must trust that He will provide. This obviously doesn’t mean that we get everything we ask for, but simply that, as my 3-year-old daughter put it, “God has better stuffs for us.”
God speaks to us. “God tells us stuff and we do it.” This is how my son was explaining what our missionary family does to a relative of ours. John 15:13-15 records Jesus saying, “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.”
Think about your closest friends. You can share the most confidential information with them. You trust them, and you know that they are for you. In a very human way, the disciples of Jesus were his best friends. He shared his time, emotions, and thoughts with them. A friend of God must be faithful to information He shares with us and keeps their commitments. We must steward well what He has “made known to us.” We have to know that the Lord speaks to His friends and that we must be listening carefully to what He is saying.
This is just a peek into the journey I have been on over the past few months. I think many of us would say that we are more acquaintances of God than we are friends of God. Many of us might not be sure when God last spoke to us. But we should strive for these things! Take some time and get back to the basics of your faith. Maybe even have a conversation about God with a child. Listen to their questions, and ask yourself the same things. He will meet you. He is faithful to do so. Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” (Matthew 19:14)