I spend a lot of time with 3, 4 and 5-year-olds. Like... a lot. On any given day, the song stuck in my head is either a nursery rhyme or the theme song to Charlie and Lola (not a bad tune, by the way). And I am constantly amazed by children. Almost daily I find myself staring at a still-slightly-oversized head on a 3ft body and asking ‘What on Earth is going on in there?’
Recently, some little people have asked me some very big questions, and their approach to God has truly blown me away. It occurred to me that if, as Mark 10:15 says, ‘anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it,’ then it might do us some good to spend more time watching our nearest little child. Here are just two of the things I have observed:
1. Children are not embarrassed to ask
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you” – Luke 11:9
“Is God bigger than a transformer?”
“Is God stronger than the Shard?”
These are just two variations of questions that a five-year-old recently asked me. He asked repeatedly. He wrestled with it. He asked again. And despite my consistent answers: “God is bigger! He is bigger than everything in the world put together!” Despite repeated singing of ‘My God is so Big,’ still the same questions ensued. He did not understand the answer yet, so he kept asking.
To my shame, I realised that when I don’t understand something, this is not my natural reaction. I shut down. I wave away my concerns and questions as ‘too big’ to consider. Or I head in the opposite direction and twist my brain into knots trying to understand things by myself.
Whatever the issue, the answer is clear from the example set by my little friend: ask. We can ask our big questions, our small questions and all our in-between questions to God, and we can seek advice and counsel from others, especially our ‘grown ups’ (those who are older and wiser than we are).
2. Children expect answers
“At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children.” - Luke 10:21
This leads me to another beautiful trait seemingly unique to small humans: they expect answers. After being entirely unsatisfied with my answers to his questions, one day the same little chap as above was very clear that he MUST be the one to pray before lunch. With as much assurance as a five-year-old can muster, he prayed ‘Dear God thank you for my lunch are You bigger than the world? Amen.’
I am still astounded to say that since that day, he has never asked again. I have no explanation for this profound change (and it really was profound- there was a noticeable gap in my day where his repetitive questioning once stood), other than that God answered that little boy’s prayer and gave him peace in his heart in a way that my assurances could not.
God is bigger than a transformer, and my little friend can rest easy.
Now obviously, we do not always receive the answers we want, and the Lord certainly doesn’t answer our prayers according to how much belief we can muster up. But we are repeatedly told to expect more than we cynics naturally might (Luke 11:9; John 14:13).
How often, when I pray, am I really expecting God to answer? How often am I really looking for Him to bring about the growth or change that I am asking for?
Knowing that we can ask God big questions, and we can expect Him to answer are just two lessons I am learning about approaching the Lord as little children. There are countless others! I invite you to look for more next time you interact with a little human. Let’s let them teach us about God.
Do stay safe and remember: God is bigger than a transformer.