My friend and I were watching my 18 month old the other night. She was playing around the living room exploring her toys, but every few minutes she’d stop what she was doing to come and find me. She’d take me by the hand to show me her baby doll or take me to the fridge to ask me for some more milk or walk me to the stairs to ask for help.
My wise friend noticed this and pointed out to me how Grace’s character is the epitome of what Christ ultimately wants for his followers.
In Matthew 18 Jesus places a little child in the middle of a crowd of adults and states, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven(v. 2-3)”
As adults we crave independence. We desire self-sufficiency. We aim to achieve on our individual work and merit. However, Jesus, as he does so frequently, turns our natural broken instinct on its head and instead praises the lowly, dependent, bumbling, stumbling toddler as the one who enters the kingdom of heaven.
A child depends solely on his or her parent for food, warmth, shelter, comfort, sense of belonging, identity. Apart from his or her parent there are tears, lots of tears, confusion, anger, frustration, meltdowns.
How much more so are we with our Creator.
Christ calls us to change and become more childlike in our faith and I believe that one of those aspects is dependence. We, adults, we, Americans, we, humans, don’t like being dependent. We think it symbolizes weakness, but I look at my child and I don’t see weak. I see a strong child who is learning about the world around her with such wonder and seeking the one who knows more about it for guidance and help.
Our dependence on God is actually freeing. It allows curiosity and exploration and questions. We bring them to the source of all knowledge—to the One who has the power to provide new wonders, answers and adventures.
When I let go of the need to have it all figured out on my own, and instead run to Jesus and ask him to come with me as I discover a new opportunity; when I grab his hand and beg him for Living water because nothing in this world seems to fully satisfy; when I ask for his help to overcome a mountain of grief; when I fully depend on my relationship with Him instead of my own strength, my own self, my own independence, I find true freedom and peace.
So today I declare my dependence.