“Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven,” Matthew 18:3.
Sea World has always been one of my favorite amusement parks to visit. Yet, the time we ventured to this well known tourist spot in San Diego with extended family and 18 month old TJ is definitely the most memorable. Upon arrival my wife Patty and I loaded up the stroller with the diaper bag, snacks, sunscreen, blankets and all the other stuff needed for a fun filled day! We quickly asked, well probably more accurately told the family to go ahead and push TJ in the stroller to Shamu Stadium and we would meet them there.With passes in hand Patty and I darted through the gate and parted ways. We were hopeful we could get my nephew to be a volunteer for one of the shows, he was in remission for leukemia so we were sure we could make it happen! As the rest of the family walked up to Shamu Stadium immediately I knew something was terribly wrong. There was no stroller and no TJ! In a panic I asked where TJ was, the blank looks on their faces stated the obvious. Somehow in the excitement of getting into the park TJ had been left in the stroller in the parking lot!
I took off sprinting, running the fastest mile of my life. I plowed through the crowds and jumped over benches, filled with adrenaline I leaped the turn stall at the entrance and just outside I saw a police officer with my son. I cannot tell you the relief, joy, and pain I felt as I pulled TJ out of the stroller and held him as tightly. Yes, I had a lot of explaining to do, but thankfully the officer believed me. That day at Sea World was tainted as I thought about what it must have been like for TJ left all alone. Was he crying, was he scared, did he think we had abandoned him?
That day is imprinted in my mind as just writing about it brings up some of the same emotions that I experienced 18 years ago. And it also helps me understand just a little about the heart of Abba Father for His children. We are spiritually helpless 18 month old toddlers, lost in the midst of a scary world. And we are not capable of saving ourselves. When Jesus says “whoever humbles himself like a child is the greatest in the Kingdom,” he means that we come to see ourselves as helpless children totally dependent on a loving Father to come to our rescue and bring us back to our true family.
As I ran passionately to find my lost son, how much more does our Abba Father run for His lost children who He created out of a heart of absolute love. In the next several weeks we will look at what this running Abba Father’s heart looks like. It is a loving, holy, forgiving, intimate, empowering, supportive, generous, concerned, faithful, & joyful heart.
The greatest way to prepare our hearts to encounter our Abba Father is to become totally dependent children again. Yes, this is counter culture for us but unless we understand our absolute neediness we will miss the full embrace of the Father’s arms of love rescuing us out of our lost, lonely existence. You and I were created to know Abba Father’s heart and to do so is to become a child again.
Pray this prayer with me: Abba Father help me know how lost I am without you. Let me see myself as a needy, dependent child, who needs his Father to rescue him from sin, fear, isolation, loneliness, and the lies of the world. Daddy God, I cry out to you today please come find me! I need you more than anyone or anything in this world. Your child, Amen!