The grandmother of an eight year old girl gave her a picture of an eagle. She folded the paper so that the eagle would be on the front and then decided to make a birthday card for her dad. She quickly found a picture of shepherds, cut it out and pasted it inside. She then wrote the following words (unchanged): The eagle of life, flying up to God, we all are in Gods hands, He loves us very much, so He wont let us go, He is the King of the universe, He is the King of the world, and we must believe in Him, He gave his Son to the world, now the Holy Spirit is with us. God is with us were ever we go. The thoughts are her own, and she wrote them down in English although their home language is Afrikaans.
To summarise spontaneously, in such a few words, God’s love, his omnipotence, the message of the gospel and the trust in God, is astonishing. David writes: Your praise reaches up to the heavens; it is sung by children and babies (Ps. 8:1 – 2).
In the Rapport of 16 March 2014 I read about Annemarie van Zyl who was stabbed to death in front of her two daughters of five and nine years. With her tiny fists the nine year old tried to protect her mom from the attacker. It is a terribly tragic event. Their mother dearly wanted a house of her own. The children’s grandfather had already died. Their grandmother tells: “The children say their granddad and mom are now building a house in heaven.” Then their granny revealed that her granddaughter had prayed for her mom’s attacker during the past week: “She asked dear Jesus to soften the heart of the attacker so that he would never again hurt someone.” I must confess that this wasn’t in my thoughts when I read about the murder. The child taught me not to condemn and not to be filled with thoughts of revenge. However, it does not mean that the law must not take its course or that the attacker must not be punished.
One is often surprised by the faith and insight of children. It just shows what God can do in the lives of people. Jesus hung innocently on the cross, dying a terrible, painful death. But He prayed for the people who were doing it to Him and said: “Forgive them, Father! They don’t know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34). When we read that, we can understand how someone who had been touched by Jesus, could pray for the man who had murdered her mother and ask Jesus to soften the attacker’s heart so that he would never again hurt someone.
Often it is precisely children who have a Christian insight and compassion with people. No wonder that Jesus once told his disciples that children set them an example of humbleness, of how people of his kingdom should be: “Unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the Kingdom of heaven. The greatest in the Kingdom of heaven is the one who humbles himself and becomes like this child. And whoever welcomes in my name one such child as this, welcomes me. If anyone should cause one of these little ones to lose his faith in me, it would be better for that person to have a large millstone tied around his neck and be drowned in the deep sea” (Matt. 18:1). Later Jesus also said: “Let the children come to me and do not stop them, because the Kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these”(Matt. 19:14).
We thank You, Lord, for what we can learn from children who are an example of the love of Christ and who acknowledge You as the King of the universe. Amen.