“Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”
– Luke 18:17
I read about a study recently that really disturbed me. It said that the average child smiles 400 times a day while the average adult only smiles 20 times. As I pondered what the reasons for this unfortunate fact might be, I developed a theory. I believe that since kids have scarier lives than grownups, they are forced to stretch and find joy in small victories. Because they are constantly being stretched, they experience more of the wonder of being alive. For instance, children have to face bullies, sometimes move to new towns, get new teachers every year, meet new classmates, and eventually deal with puberty and the challenges that go along with it.
On the other hand, adults have more independence and freedom and can make their lives controlled and comfortable. They can withdraw from the things that stretch and challenge them and build a world that suits their current situation. What would it be like, however, if grownups were forced to get a new job every year? Or to take classes and learn new skills? Though I don’t advocate intentional instability, I believe that challenges and changes can actually increase a sense of joy and happiness in life.
Friend, I encourage you to expand your world by seeing it through the eyes of a child. Don’t shrink back in fear, but embrace stretching situations knowing that they will ultimately complete your joy. Freedom is found in letting go, not in holding on, so release the tight grip you have on your life and learn again to see the wonder and excitement in something new. Receive the Kingdom of God like a little child, and I guarantee you, you will never stop smiling!
I am grateful, Jesus, that you invite me to embrace my life with the wonder of a child. Help me to see my faith through the lens of a kid and make my heart childlike in trust.
Are you childlike in faith or have you built a controlled life? How does this impact your joy?