Monday, February 19, 2007

Crawling Back to Kindergarten

"I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 18:3

We forget that God is not like this world.

Somehow we start believing that spiritual maturity means following our own grown-up heart ("I know what to do. I've been a Christian for ages!")... and that the busier we are, the more productive we are... and that when we are weak, we are, well, just weak... and the first will be first (and the last will be forgotten)... and to sit quietly means time's a wastin' and God will think us lazy... and to run ourself into an exhausted heap (or an early cemetery plot) while caring for others is a good and godly thing...

We forget that God is the God of an opposite world which runs on opposite ways.

Have you ever seen a child (or had one of your own) whose face is turned toward a group of cavorting, mischievous children while you are attempting to tell him something important? And so you have to (gently) use your fingers to turn his chin, and therefore his eyes, toward your face before he can pay attention to you?

I think God does that with us. Like, a lot. Until we stop watching how all His other kids are handling Life... until we let Him train our ear to hear His softest whisper, I think He has to (usually after we've exhausted, discouraged and nearly killed ourselves) use His fingers to turn our eyes back to His. And then He takes our hand within His warm one and leads us to --where? The playground for the big kids? A godly type of college? Graduate School?

Uh, not quite... I believe He leads us across the playground and back into Kindergarten.

God's Kindergarten. And there we stay until we begin to understand this 'opposite stuff'... until we can take a few faltering steps--not by sight--but rather, by faith... until we learn it's by giving that we receive... and that His ways are not ours (and so we must always pay attention to Him, never act like we know it all)... and that when we are weak we are made strong... and Humility will take us to the places which Pride promised (and lied) that it would...

...And that Love for God must come first--and when it truly does--then there comes a wisdom, a knowing, a rest and a calm trust so that we can be led by His gentle touch--and not driven by our clueless heads.

And then, after He sees that we've begun to understand His opposite ways, He takes our hand and walks us over to--you guessed it! The huge, exciting world of, alas, First Grade.

And we are fortunate, indeed, if it did not take us 20 years to get there.

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