The spiritual insights of children never cease to amaze me. Maybe they are so wise because they have more recently come from God and have not yet crowded out the divine with their ego.
Over the summer I shared Bible stories once a week in the daycare program at the congregation I serve. The Director of the program asked me to start with the Beatitudes in Matthew 5:1-12 which begin, Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
With the older children, I began by explaining the meaning of “Blessed." Rather than connoting something holy or sacred, it's really a cheer--something more like "good for you!” I asked the children, “Why would we say, ‘good for you!’ to someone who is poor or sad?” A 4th grader immediately raised her hand and said, “because then God can help you!” I almost asked her to come up and finish the Bible lesson. It was clear to her than when we are need, we are more open to receiving God’s help and that's really good for us. If only I could see it so clearly when I need help instead of pushing myself to try harder.
A couple weeks later, I was finishing a Bible story with the Pre-K-Kindergarten class. At the end of the story every week, I told them the most important thing to remember was, “God loves us no matter what!” After saying a closing prayer, a little four-year old boy asked if he could say a prayer. Of course I agreed. He earnestly folded his hands, bowed his head and tightly squeezed his eyes shut and prayed, “Dear God, I love you no matter what!”
I wanted to say, “Good for you, God!”—a cheer for God to receive this complete, holy love which did not waiver. I haven’t always been able to offer that simple prayer in my faith journey.
I find myself re-visiting these pearls of wisdom from the children. Such heartfelt, spontaneous expressions of faith remind me to rely upon God’s wisdom and power rather than my own, and to return the love God showers on me, no matter what pain or difficulty life brings.