Thursday, June 06, 2013

Unless You Change And Become Like a Child...

  On May 25th our friends, Archie and Jessica Edenfield, from our Mercy Ships days, had to say goodbye to their 4 year old little boy, Silas, who went home to be with Jesus after fighting a cancer battle for about a year and half.  Silas was diagnosed with stage IV Hepatoblastoma, a rare liver cancer that affects about 1 in a million children in the United States each year.  You can learn more about Silas' story on his Facebook page: Praying for Silas .
Archie and Jessica asked their friends to share their own personal stories of how Silas' life touched them and what they may have learned in the process.  So, I've decided to share mine.  The following is from a journal entry I wrote on April 19th of this year:

Thinking about little Silas, on the brink of meeting Jesus face-to-face and my first thought is: "How fortunate and lucky (I don't really believe in "luck", it's just a word that comes in handy sometimes)  Silas is to get to meet Jesus while he's still little and innocent and clean in heart and mind and spirit!"  He gets to run wildly with open arms and his head held high to embrace Him and receive His embrace.  He's not worried about the years he lived here on earth and how he failed Jesus; disappointed with himself because of his sin and mistakes.  He's not plagued by thoughts of all that he could have done but didn't do for Jesus.  He's not hung-up on his unworthiness.  He's only 4 years old.  He's just thankful to get his new body and ready to be with Jesus! 

I was feeling a bit envious and a little sorry for myself and the fact that I do have all those disappointments and regrets and hang-ups.  Why can't we all run to Jesus with our arms opened wide and our heads held high?  I want that too!  But then Jesus reminded me of what He said in Matthew 18:3:  "Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven."  And all of the sudden, thinking of Silas, I understood what He meant and I realized that I have definitely NOT been doing that! 

Silas is an innocent little boy but he's also a sinner, unworthy of God's love - we all are.  We are born that way.  But Silas is so young and innocent that He's not over-analyzing God's promises of love and forgiveness and giving us His Righteousness.  He doesn't try to figure it all out and prove it or disprove it in his mind.  He doesn't fret about whether he's going to pass or fail.  He just accepts it as a fact and receives it with excitement and thankfulness.  

With that image in my mind, of Silas running into Jesus' arms, I realize that is how Jesus wants ME to come running to Him as well!  He doesn't want me to come with my head bowed down, in shame and regret; hesitant about approaching Him; hung up on all my regrets about how I lived my life here on earth.  He wants me to be like a child.  While yet a sinner - still innocent and wide-eyed, excited, grateful, accepting and believing in HIM and His promise of love and forgiveness and clothing me with His Righteousness; making all things new and innocent again!  

His incredible grace and mercy is such a HUGE, UNFATHOMABLE GIFT that we find it hard to understand and grasp.  That He can or is willing and desires to take all our sin and failures and mistakes and regrets and make us clean of them all and free us from that bondage and the weight of regret and guilt and give us HIS Righteousness as a gift!  A gift we don't deserve and could never earn - it's just His love-gift to us.  So when God looks at us He doesn't see our unrighteousness; He sees Jesus' Righteousness that covers over our multitude of sin.  That's why He can receive us into His Holy Presence - because we've been forgiven and set free.  

But oh, when will I learn that I don't have to wait until Heaven - while that hope sustains and strengthens me - I have this gift here and now on earth, in my every day life.  I have accepted His gift of salvation and grace and forgiveness and freedom!  So, I don't have to over-analyze and fear and regret because that would be to throw away this precious Gift that Jesus gave me.  That would be like if someone gifted me with the finest meal at the finest restaurant on earth and I just decided to go to McDonald's instead.  

It's completely my choice.  God has already given me the gift.  The ball is in my court.  Do I really believe Him?  Do I accept His Gift - not just in word but in deed?  Do I come to Him like a child - all dizzy-happy in my innocence - that sweet innocence that He gave me - with my arms opened wide and my head held high; running into His arms; loving Him freely and boldly; receiving His love, receiving His forgiveness - His grace and mercy...His Gift of Freedom?  

Do I receive it and LIVE IT... or do I choose to stay in bondage and regret and worry and anxiety and disappointment?  

It's my choice...

...and only I can choose.

1 comment:

Archie & Jessica said...

Thank you so much for sharing this, praise the Lord!

~Jessica (Silas' mom)