If you first came to know Christ when you were a child, what a blessed person you are! Can you think back and remember the change that occurred in your heart? I do! And though my walk hasn’t been this perfect straight line right to heaven, I know that something immediately changed in me the moment I first surrendered when I was 10 years old.
First of all, I remember weeping, not even really understanding why. It was strange. After church that evening, I remember my parents taking me to the old Brendel’s (sp?) store on Clemson Blvd. Immediately I had to have a cross necklace. I HAD to! I remember feeling His nearness and knowing that for the rest of my life, I didn’t want to feel anything else. I began to worship Him with abandon. I think soon after my salvation experience, the Lord began to speak to my heart about being in full time ministry. My gifts began to be realized, and the Holy Spirit was hard at work. I was beyond zealous! I couldn’t imagine loving anyone or anything more than Jesus.
It seemed, however, that the more zealous I got, the more adults in my life wanted to squash my joy and exuberance. Perhaps, some of the adults in my life had been burned by church or other Christians, and they were trying to protect me. But over time, my worship became stale. The closeness that I had once experienced in Christ diminished. My child-like faith became marred by life and circumstances.
THIS IS NOT WHAT OUR FATHER DESIRES FOR US!!!!!
Now that I’m a mother, I see this so clearly. When my daughter sees a bird or airplane in the sky or hears a “choo-choo train”, her heart leaps in her chest. She exuberantly exclaims her delight and joy in knowing what those things are. She believes that those things are there just for her entertainment and joy. I don’t want to steal that away from her. I don’t have the heart to tell her that, “Yes, birds fly in the sky. Big deal!” Who would honestly say that to their child who has a twinkle in their eye regarding the great mysteries of life? We are desensitized to the beauty, grace, and awe-struck wonder of our planet and of our God who created it.
1 Samuel 17 is the story of David and Goliath. I shared this story with the band a few weeks ago, and I feel impressed to share it with you today. You see, David had been tending to his father’s sheep while his brothers were off fighting the Philistines. One day, David’s father sends him to check on his brothers’ and to bring them food, clothing, etc. When David arrives at the camp, he is astonished by what he sees. The Israelite army is trembling in fear of this 9 foot tall giant who has been bred to destroy the Israelites. Over time, the Israelites, being exhausted from constant fighting and verbal abuse by the Philistines, had given in to their fear. David’s responds (being full of the understanding of who His God is): “Why on earth are you guys scared. Don’t you know that God Almighty, Creator of the universe, and Red Sea parter is our God, and He is with us? He will fight for us! (paraphrasing)” I can see David now, in his zealous youth, being patted on the head and not taken very seriously.
Maybe you know the rest of the story, but for those of you who don’t, I’ll summarize. David finds his way to King Saul and convinces him to allow David to fight the giant. I love what 1 Samuel 17:33-3:
Saul replied, “You [David] are not able to go out against this Philistine and fight him; you are only a boy, and he [Goliath] has been fighting man from his youth.” But David said to Saul, “Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep. when a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, I went after it, struck it and killed it. Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.”
King Saul relents and allows David to attempt to kill Goliath. Saul even tries to place armor on David, but it doesn’t fit. David takes the armor off, picks up a few smooth stones, grabs his sling-shot, and in one fell swoop, he takes out the giant, becoming the hero for Israel. A mere boy became the savior of a nation with one smooth stone and a sling-shot.
How much could we do if we realized who our Daddy is? What if we started living like we believe that He is who He says He is? What if we throw away our inhibitions and run after God with all that we have knowing that He is able; that He will carry us; that He will pick us up when we fall; that He is God Almighty, Creator of the universe, parter of the Red Sea, and Savior of our very souls? My prayer for you and me today is that we return to a child like faith, and let’s not let anyone rob us of our zeal and joy in Christ Jesus.
In Mark 10:14-15, Jesus says:
Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.