I like kids.
Ok, I like kids for awhile.
My best friend is fostering siblings who are 19 months old and 3 years old. The oldest tries to hide a smile when I praise him for his good behavior. I enjoy creating games that make him laugh mischievously. The little girl is a hot mess, with wild hair and an independent spirit. I want to scoop her up and nuzzle her neck. They are an adorable pair and I love spending time with them.
Until she has a snot bubble that threatens to explode with each exhale. Or he needs a diaper change. Or his hair is soaked with sweat and her hands are covered in who even knows what dirt-food combination.
Then I’m done.
I cringe at the thought of sticky fingers touching my face. I seriously can’t comprehend how parents do it. Children are allowed to come to me when they are smiling and clean.
Jesus said “Let the children come to me [stinky fingers and all]. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children.” (Matthew 19:14, italics added)
God is a good father. He doesn’t leave us to ourselves when we’re sitting in our own filth, but cleans us up and shows us a better way. He doesn’t hold us at arms-length when we’re grimy from life here on earth. Instead, He welcomes us with arms wide open. He doesn’t watch from a distance, but gets on His knees and actively engages us, teaching and guiding us every day. He waits patiently when we throw tantrums and lovingly disciplines us.
Jesus allows me to come no matter what state I’m in. I’m not always smiling and the only thing that makes me clean is the abundant grace of Christ, which He gives to me freely despite myself.
He is a good Father and I am loved by Him.