“Growing Up to Become Like Children”
by Isaac Watson, ATS Graduate Intern
“And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off.” – Matthew 18:13
In C.S. Lewis’ imaginative classic, The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, the four main characters are Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy. Peter, being the oldest, is only just about the age that you start high school and Lucy, the youngest, only old enough to be starting grade school. Despite their ages the four children come to the magical land of Narnia where, under the direction of Aslan the lion (the Christ character), they save the realm from the curse of the White Witch whose spell keeps it “always winter but never Christmas.”
Through the whole story, the only ones who take any real issue with the age of the four main characters are the main characters themselves. Aslan and his companions see these two “sons of Adam” and two “daughters of Eve” as essential to fulfillment of prophecy and the dreams of all that peace will be restored to Narnia. As the drama unfolds, the children’s confidence grows, they are given the needed tools to perform in their roles, lead a valiant and victorious charge against the evil forces of the White Witch, and become kings and queens. These youngsters accomplish things that we hardly imagine possible for children.
Jesus tells us that, in turning from our sins and seeking to enter his kingdom, we must become like little children. So often, the afflictions and actions that have become synonymous with “adulthood” keep us in our sins and out of the kingdom: stress, discord, jealousy, manipulation, deception, impurity, fear, insecurity, worry, bitterness and rage. These things leave us discouraged, depressed and defeated. They stamp out our dreams and God’s design for us. Like Paul, we need to “put away childish things” and become like children: innocently humble in all that we do, quick to honor others, resting in the Lord’s good and capable care. We can learn from the children in our midst how to foster our “inner child.” We can grow up to simply love one another, quickly forgiving others in the same way that a child rebounds from a fall or a lost toy and concentrates on the next good thing to come! We can begin to approach the ups and downs in life with a rejuvenating joy sustained by our Father in heaven. We can confess our sins to the One who is full of grace and truth and release the fear and anger that keep our souls in a never-ending winter. In the process, we can encourage others in their own development. Through these actions, God’s kingdom becomes alive on earth, and our imaginations are invited to thrive!
In this dark and dreary world it is up to us to be shining lights. God calls us to be child-like, combating the world’s darkness with simple, innocent and joyful rejuvenation and healing. Committing ourselves daily to being youthful will bring about positive change. By displaying Christ-like love in everything that we do and say we will begin to see God’s Kingdom become alive on earth!