Sunday night at our church’s cookout my understanding of what it means to be a child in my faith became something new and moving.
Some people from a community we are in came to our cookout after we spent the day playing with these two kids and others. Dayja is going into 3rd grade and was very sweet. Her face was gently speckled with freckles that most might of missed had our faces not been so close, just the mere presence of innocence surrounded her. We broke up into groups to pray and I was surprised to see the Dad and his kids stay. Levi and Izaiah went with the boys and I stayed with Dayja with the ladies. We started playing tic tac toe on the cement with chalk while the women were talking about our intentions for prayer time, slightly disappointed that I would be on the ground while they were praying and wouldn’t be able to hear them, I decided I would sacrifice it so that Dayja could feel welcome and not overwhelmed. I also desperately wanted her to hear the prayers of godly women. We did many rounds of tic tac toe and then switched to a rock paper scissors games and then the game where you make boxes between dots one line at a time. I’m never sure if that game has a name. The ladies are talking about our vision into the next semester in the fall, thoughts towards which I wanted to share, but I wanted to give all my attention to Dayja as well. Right when we started praying, Dayja turns to me and asks “What are we doing?” I answered that we were praying. She responds “Would you like to listen?” Yes! Yes! I was secretly jumping for joy as this little girl gave me permission to join the women for prayer. Secretly, it was an answered prayer in itself. I answered her with a calm yes and invited her to join me at the table. As we prayed Dayja would tell me about herself and about her brother. Sometimes her brother would do mean things to her, but he would say he was sorry. Then she sometimes does mean things to him and has to apologize. She began to tell me about the one time he did something mean and didn’t apologize and I could tell her about Jesus and the cross and how because of his forgiveness we can forgive others, even if they don’t ask for it. Something that resounded in me thinking about my childhood and forgiving people even when they don’t ask. Then she began to tell me about the prayers that God answers of hers. When she is afraid of the dark, asking God to protect her.
She looked at me with her sweet little eyes and short brown hair, “Do you know God answers prayers?”
Yes God does answer prayers. It pretty much made me want to cry though. She continued to tell me about the prayers God answers and I was able to affirm the beauty of her life. We continued through the gospel talking about the joy God has when we believe in him. Little whispers among powerful prayers.
One of the women at the table was really feeling some pain from some convictions which Dayja noticed. “Why is she crying?” she asked me sweetly. I began to explain what it’s like when God is teaching us things and how it hurts, when we learn to not have pride anymore. Her empathy touched me and I pretty much lost it when we started singing and Dayja went over to this woman and gave her a hug while intently listening to why she was crying. “What’s wrong” she had asked in a light, quiet voice.
I was moved and couldn’t even make it through one line of “How Great is our God”
Oh I pray for the impact that night may have made on her heart, that even if we never see her again she might think fondly of it and remember God.
Just to see God at work in someone so small, so innocent, that she could give such love… oh what faith. Maybe she doesn’t know how to debate creation verse evolution or understand the complete context of Mere Christianity, but she knows God answers her prayers and sometimes that the one thing that keeps me from doubting.
But to have childlike faith.
At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.