And a child shall lead them…

Posted by on Jul 10, 2022 in Blog | 3 comments

toddle wearing gray button collared shirt with curly hair

Rosemary and I have been blessed to have a weeks holiday together with our three children, their spouses and our three grandchildren. Getting everyone together is something you don’t take for granted, especially in these Covid ridden days, but the 11 of us have been together in a 5 bedroom AirBnB between Denmark and Albany. Although the temperature has been icy, we have been spared the heavy rain that is usually part of our winter and have been able to explore as widely as you can when you have a 1, 4 and 7 year old in the party.

Jesus taught that unless we become like little children we won’t enter the Kingdom of Heaven (Matt 18:3), while Isaiah’s vision of the glorious future includes the promise that a little child will lead them (Isa 11:6). Now to be honest, when there has been some upset, or dinner is running late, or an overly long walk has left one of the grandchildren wailing, I am tempted to wonder why. There is nothing particularly winsome about an over tired child – but then there are other moments of sheer delight, and actually there are lots and lots of them.

So what have I been reminded about entering the Kingdom of Heaven this week? One snippet from each of the grandchildren…

First up is the disarming honesty of children. They routinely confide in me about their idiosyncrasies and vulnerability. They don’t bluster and try to defend themselves, just explain that they are not very good at something and they are trying their best and then they leave it there. Sometimes they show amazing insight. The seven year old recently told us that while at the moment she is physically strong she was feeling emotionally weak after a few disappointments (an asthma attack had cheated her of a hoped for victory in the school cross country). There it was, just very matter of fact but perceptive. Essentially she had said: “I am well, but disappointment is making me struggle with my emotions.” I am not sure I am always as honest about why I feel and act as I do. Sometimes I find it easier to blame others – but often that is simply not the truth. I’m happy for this child to lead me, for I have much to learn.

Naturally the one year old is not yet able to talk. Don’t for one moment interpret that to mean “is unable to communicate” for he communicates non stop. You know if he is pleased, frustrated, amused or fascinated. Fascination is one of the more common expressions etched on his face, as he stares intently at someone or something for a long period of time. He is not at all afraid to hold your gaze and lets you know that he finds you most interesting. He is easy to amuse, and will try and mimic your attempts to humour him. In his hymn “Love Divine, All Loves Excelling” Charles Wesley imagines the time when we “cast our crowns before Thee; Lost in wonder, love and praise.” When I look at the face of this one year old gazing adoringly at his mom and dad, I get a sense of the look we will have when we see the “Father of mercies” (to quote 2 Cor 1:3) and are also “lost in wonder, love and praise”.

The four year old reminded me of the importance of perspective. We were walking a very short section of the Bibbulmun Track and suddenly seeing the ocean laid out before us, gave a collective gasp of appreciation. Well – you could see it if you were a foot taller than the four year old. Her view was obstructed by the vegetation in front of her, but she was no less appreciative, commenting on the beauty of the leaves and foliage before her eyes. And she was right – they were beautiful, it’s just that our gaze was on the ocean. We see things from where we stand, and it is as well to take everyone’s view seriously – for they see what they see, and have much to teach us.

I could go on and on, but then I would probably start to sound like a besotted and biased grandparent. And maybe that’s not a bad thing, for it is exactly what I am – and when children lead us, it is much easier to be open about love, and feelings, and wonder and perspective and gratitude – for life is good and God is kind.

As always, nice chatting…

Photo by Bess Hamiti on Pexels.com

Feel free to reproduce this post with acknowledgment or to forward it to any who might find it helpful.

3 Comments

  1. Comment *I enjoyed reading this and felt uplifted by it. You do have beautiful grandchildren.?

    • And you have a wonderful grandchild Janet. Was great getting to know him a little better this week. He is a definite personality ?.

  2. Love, thanks Brian

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