I was reading Isaiah 11:6 and I was so struck by the words "a little child shall lead them". It made me think about how precious children are and how much we can learn from them. Jesus tells us in the Bible that we are to come to Him with the faith of a child. I love that thought because it’s really obvious to me that children have a very sweet innocence about them that over the years seems to fade away due to disappointments, hurts and frustrations with others. There is also a sense of imagination and enchantment that is lost over the years. But God’s redemption plan in Jesus Christ is actually quite enchanting! Is that a scary word for you? It was for me, too, until I realized what it really just means “a feeling of great liking for something wonderful and unusual”.
Children don’t question – they trust. They are honest and real about their feelings and there is no pretense until people begin to lie to them or ask them to lie. They believe what you say will happen if you say it will until they begin to get let down by those who don't always do what they say they will do. They are humble and know that they are not in charge and willingly submit to that until they see someone else question authority and act out of ignorance. They get excited when Daddy’s around and jump into His arms with no reservations or doubts that he won’t be able to handle their weight until Daddy doesn't come home anymore and their world begins to shatter.
I think the reason children are so precious to God is for those reasons. They may be born into sin, but they are a lot more teachable and believing than we are. Maybe that is why God chose Mary, not more than a child herself (scholars say she was anywhere between 12 and 15 years old) to carry His Son, Jesus. He knew she would believe Him and accept the call He placed on her life without question.
I love that the first thing sweet Mary did was run to an older, wiser woman - her cousin, Elizabeth - for advice and encouragement. That is our role, older friends. We are to come alongside of those young folks and encourage them, not discourage them. If you look in Luke 1, earlier on before Gabriel, the angel, came to Mary, you will notice he also paid a visit to Zechariah, Elizabeth's husband. He told him what God was going to do in his life - God was going to give him (though he was old in age) a son who would grow strong and would announce the coming of the Messiah - but he didn't believe. He thought it was crazy. So the angel told him he wouldn't talk until after the baby, John, was born.
I wonder if that is because God didn't want him speaking unbelieving words when Mary would come around to visit his wife to find encouragement? Maybe it was a gift - sometimes I kick myself for the unbelieving things that come out of my mouth. Being struck dumb may have saved Zechariah and many others some unwelcome pain! It could probably save us and those in our lives that pain at times, as well. Especially those children who believe in God so whole-heartedly until they examine us speaking words of unbelief and begin to wonder if it's all a lie.
This Christmas, the best gift we can ask for is the faith of a child. The best gift we can give our children is to exercise that faith in their presence. I don't know what your situation is, but I know that if God said He is sovereign, He is sovereign over that situation. He has not forgotten or forsaken you. He has you covered and He will give you peace that passes all understanding. Believe it, my friend. He has promised it.
As Elizabeth told Mary, I'm going to tell you (from Luke 1:45), "You are blessed because you believed that the Lord would do what He said."