Jesus Loves the Children

by Hilary Horn

A Reading Life Differently post by Barbie Perks

We were in church on Sunday. As it only meets the first and third Sundays of the month, it was the 3rd time I had been. Each time, it seems there are different people but I am slowly getting to know faces. I sat behind a family with five children, four of whom went out to the Sunday school class and one stayed behind with his mom. I became aware that this child had some kind of disability which was not immediately apparent. I watched his mother taking care of him, quieting him and keeping him calm while the rest of the service continued.

It dawned on me that when we have children, we have dreams and aspirations for their future. Might they grow up to be the one who discovers a cure for some disease that plagues mankind? Might they be a president one day? Might they become great teachers, preachers or evangelists? Might they serve the Lord faithfully in their home and church? Might they… fill in your own dreams☺

I can’t begin to imagine how some parents cope with re-orienting their thinking when they discover their beloved child has some form of impairment or disability, mental or physical. I know a couple who have devoted their lives to looking after a severely disabled son who was given 12 years at most to live, but who passed away last year aged 57. His father said he considered it his privilege to minister to his son all those years. Many looking on from outside the situation would say, and some did say, “Why not take him to an institution that is more equipped to handle him?” and the father would reply, “God has given him to us, and we will do our best to look after him. No one knows him or loves him like we do!”

There are some stories recorded in the Gospels where desperate parents came to Jesus on behalf of their children, begging for healing and Jesus had compassion on them, healing the children. I know that not all our prayers for the healing of our children are answered in the way we desire, but maybe what is happening is that healing comes in our own inner selves, in our heart attitudes, in the way we accept the different path our lives go from this point on, in the way we begin to lean on Jesus for comfort and guidance during the difficult days.

In Matthew 19:13-15 we are told that little children were brought to Jesus – it doesn’t say who brought them, but we can assume that many of the mothers would have to bring their children with them if they wanted to hear what Jesus was saying, and that it was the mothers who came forward to ask Jesus to lay hands on their children and to pray for them. The disciples rebuked them, but Jesus in turn rebukes the disciples and says “Let the little children come to me…” In our home church, we used these verses whenever we held an infant baptism service, saying that the children were welcome and that the congregation promised to maintain a safe place for the children to grown up in the love and knowledge of the Lord.

But frequently, the reality is that congregants don’t want to be disturbed by children and often, especially the older generation, send “looks” to wherever the disturbance is coming from. Mothers feel unaccepted and often choose to opt out of going to church so that their child doesn’t disturb others. I think Jesus’s words are healing balm to these mothers – let the children come to me! I think Jesus was saying in a roundabout way, “Let the mothers come to me with their children – do not hinder them!”  I imagine that as Jesus laid hands on those children, he might have touched the mother’s arm, and included her in the prayers he prayed for her child. Can we not, when we see a mother or father struggling with their child, approach with a heart of compassion, to bless and pray with and over them?

Jesus, you loved little children

You said the kingdom of heaven belongs to them

Teach us to love all children in our communities with your love

Teach us to love the mothers and fathers, the grannies and grandpas

Who struggle with what others think are imperfect children

Give us hearts of compassion, willing to learn from them

For they serve you with an obedience we do not comprehend

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1 comment

Corrine Lund June 26, 2019 - 12:33 pm

More good thoughts! Thanks…

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