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Through the Eyes of a Child

Whether a first or return trip to Guatemala, one of your immediate observations will be the deep brown eyes of the children.  These are eyes unlike any you’ll see anywhere because they are eyes that immediately captivate and draw you in.

Earlier today a six or seven-year-old girl made her way over to where I was quietly writing.  I don’t know Spanish, so besides saying “hola”, I wasn’t able to communicate.  But what I noticed was how interested and intrigued she was by me.  Certainly, I was not the first gringo that she encountered, yet I quickly concluded she was intrigued by my computer.  Her eyes were inquisitive as she waited to calculate my response to her approach.  I smiled and welcomed her presence as best I could within my limited ability to communicate.  The encounter could be quickly dismissed as not all that significant, yet following her departure, God kept bringing the Scripture truth to mind “unless you become like a little child, you can enter the kingdom of heaven”.

Like many texts, this statement by Jesus is both perplexing yet challenging.  What does he mean by this?  Can a person become like a little child once they are grown, or perhaps a better question could be formed around what is it about a little child that as adults we lose?

This question reminded me of our arrival in this small village.  Rachel, a high school student from West Michigan, was with us last year in this village, which resulted in her building many connections with the children.  Most Guatemalans, in my opinion, exhibit a friendliness, but it was the children who are often the first to greet our vans.  Upon some children seeing Rachel, after a year’s passing, it was as if they were welcoming a true friend back into their little community.

There are many things we discover about children that give insight into this Biblical challenge.  Here are just a couple of thoughts.

  1. First, children have an inquisitive curiosity. Their quest to learn and discover is unparalleled to that of adults.  Additionally, they seem uninhibited, willing to take the first step and risk in a new or renewed relationship.  Second, they seem to possess little fear, unlike adults who often calculate their risk.  Somewhere along the way, in becoming an adult, our experiences of rejection begin to cultivate a protectiveness, keeping us at safe distance.  Children don’t yet have the cautious fear of rejection, and therefore are willing to venture forward with a higher risk capacity.  Closely linked to this is the third.  Children, without necessarily recognizing their need to love or need for love, will venture into a relationship with a tremendous capacity to express love, without fully assessing whether they will receive love in return or not.  I could go on to name other observations, but this all boils down to one thing – fear.  Adults develop a protection hedge, based on fear, that seeks to establish a safe distance.

 

  1. Jesus does not want us at a safe distance. Just as the Guatemala children, immediately upon seeing Rachel, hugged her and climbed up into her lap, Jesus bids us to do the same.   He compels us to be inquisitive, to come to him uninhibited, to “risk all” believing that his capacity for love never ends.  He desires us to draw close to his heart, to put our arms around his neck, and remain close to his side.

The children of Guatemala (like all children) are precious.  Jesus wants to remind us today that we are his children.  We can come to him uninhibited and receive His deep love that never fails.

 

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