In the gospel of Matthew, Jesus says “Unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” The innocence of childhood can reveal the type of heart that we are all supposed to have as we approach Jesus. In this new blog series, we will be noticing and celebrating how we see God working in our kids, and perhaps even learning more about how our walk with Christ should look.
After three weeks of knowing no other world than our house and the backyard, the dam burst.
Internal emotions and frustration to questions unsatisfactorily answered finally found their scapegoat in the school work assigned that day. Our youngest screamed/moaned in a way only a seven year old can: “I AM AT HOME, WHY DO I NEED TO DO SCHOOL WORK!!!” He quickly found an ally in his 10 year old brother, who vehemently championed his younger brother’s cause. After more time than we care to admit coaxing and arguing that school work needed to be done, everyone’s emotions were spent (and the school work was no closer to being completed).
One thing that children are very astute at is letting you know what they think.
Sometimes the absence of internal dialogue is comical, other times embarassing. But when a child is upset (see above for an example), their communication is…shall we say, unrestrained. In Psalm 44, the psalmist wonders aloud why God appears to have left them and allowed terrible things to happen to them:
“(9) But you have rejected us and disgraced us and have not gone out with our armies. (10) You have made us turn back from the foe, and those who hate us have gotten spoil. (11) You have made us like sheep for slaughter and have scattered us among the nations. (12) You have sold your people for a trifle, demanding no high price for them.”
The Psalmist is, admittedly, more poetic than our 7 year old but they are kindred spirits.
Our children (yours too I’d bet) and the psalmists are experts at lamenting. What is lamenting? That’s a good question.
Lamenting is a “passionate expression of grief or sorrow” (emphasis on “passionate” mine). It’s clear from scripture that God welcomes the laments of his children (there’s an entire book named Lamentations after all!). And what’s even more amazing is that God hears and acts! See here in Psalm 34:
“(4) I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. (6) This poor man called, and the Lord heard him; he saved him out of all his troubles. (7) The angel of the Lord encamps around those that fear him; and he delivers them.”
“(17) The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. (18) The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”
As parents, we’ve tried to be stalwart towers of consistency and resolve through the quarantine (breakdown over school work notwithstanding). But what we’ve learned from our kids is that we’ve neglected lamenting to God lately. Current circumstances have changed much for many of us. Not enough work (or too much), no time with dear friends and family (or too much), and so on. May we learn from our children and learn to lament to the God that hears his children and comes to their aid.