I have a four month old nephew who is very adorable. Everyone in my family loves him because of how cute he is. He is slowly but surely becoming more irresistible as he grows day by day. I just feel good every time I cradle him into my arms and it’s always a feel good moment every time I see him smile. However, he’s grown to have this one vice that all of us within the family have noticed: he always cries whenever one of us lay him down and leave him. One time I was cradling him and my mom told me to do something—I forgot what it was I had to do—so I laid him down to his crib. Seconds after I laid him down, he started crying. Literally and vehemently. Sometimes I intentionally lay him down and then he would start crying. We don’t find it annoying at all but, rather, adorable. For me, there is just something special about him having such a vice (I’m not even sure if it’s considered a vice as what my sister would describe it). Indeed, there is a pragmatic value to making your toddler not get so used to being cradled because at some time you won’t be able to. Much of my nephew’s motive for acting as such is his need for attention, which is a great need for his age. Yet, when we grow up, we find out that people don’t give us attention as much as we do to adorable toddlers like my nephew. If it’s still the case, then finding a job won’t be so hard at all! We’ll just walk by Best Buy and will be hired! In some cases, we have to earn attention, and it’s not wrong choosing to force our children get used to the reality they will eventually bump into when they grow up. At any rate, there is still that longing for us to be recognized—the reason why some pursue popularity and being cradled in any way—the reason why we crave intimacy. It seems that, now, we have to work a little hard to earn those two things. The effort which we put in for the sake of those things makes us pale in comparison to toddlers, especially my nephew.
Is there something that we don’t have that they do? Of course, some of us are still adorable—or more adorable than when we were younger. Or do they know something that we don’t know? The latter question may not even be considered knowing how way more developed our brains are than theirs.
In my humble opinion, though, I think they constantly get attention and intimacy simple because they are who they are and we don’t because we’re not who they are despite the fact we can still choose to be like who they are. Obviously we can’t go back to being a toddler or a younger kid, but we still can be childlike as they are.
During one of those times I laid my nephew down and he started crying, something dawned: it dawned on me that the reason he may be crying is because he knows he’s away from me—or whoever cradles and gives him attention. Being aware that he may be crying because of that, I started to feel probably just as hurt as him. I wanted to cradle him back again.
Then I imagined, what I felt is probably what God feels every time.
There is a biblical passage where there were some children approaching Jesus, but the disciples “rebuked” them. Jesus Christ then said “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them from coming to me; for to such belongs the Kingdom of Heaven.” (Matthew 19:13-15, ESV). On the surface, everyone would most likely recognize what Jesus was trying to say, saying that children belong the Kingdom of Heaven. But it seems that Jesus was trying to say something more, that the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to such children as if they hold dominion over the Kingdom. Yet, I think He must be conveying something deeper than that because if Jesus meant what he said at face value then we, adults, don’t hold dominion over the kingdom. Jesus might mean to say that in the Kingdom of Heaven, we are subject to these children, which I don’t think is true.
I think Jesus conveys something deeper. I think He is saying that unless we become like children, i.e. childlike, we won’t be part of the kingdom of Heaven. Well, what does it mean to be childlike? In answering this question, one doesn’t have to think really deeply. My four month old nephew is a testament on what it means to be childlike. Does it mean constantly seeking for milk? No. Does it mean sleeping all the time? Definitely not. I think being childlike is what my nephew tends to do: crying when I lay him down to crib and leave him.
For us to be childlike, I think we have to bear the attitude of a toddler/child towards God, i.e. always seek not be away from Him. When God created us, He must have never wanted us to leave Him. But the Great Deceiver told Adam and Eve that they’d be better off without God. As a result, they ended up living with a weeping soul and such lack of childlike attribute continues to pass down to our generation. And just as when God comes up to cradle us back, we turn away and resist Him, choosing to seek other things to keep us satisfied. We look for fame in other people, and we fail again and again. We’re at the top of popularity one day, and the next day people drag us down, leaving us in misery. We seek intimacy in other people, pursue partners we take to bed for a one night stand, satisfy our cravings, only to find out that our passions have betrayed us. Sin is essentially living with a weeping soul. Whether we know or not, we live with a weeping soul until we receive God to cradle us back, where attention and intimacy are constant. And when we feel like God is far away that we don’t feel him cradling us, He’s probably carrying our cross that we should carry, carrying it to the Kingdom of Heaven He’s preparing for us. He most likely wants us to wait for Him to carry us into that kingdom as He lays us on His arms.
The waiting part is most likely the process in which we are sanctified, rendering us worthy to enter the Heavenly kingdom. And so, therefore, it is with great importance that we maintain that childlike attitude in this life pilgrim.
When I cradle my nephew back again, there is another feel good moment I experience.
God most likely experiences the same when He cradles us back onto His arms. The Christian God doesn’t want His faithful to bow before Him as He sits on His heavenly throne.
He wants us being cradled onto His arms as He delivers us from this hostile world and leads us to the Kingdom of Heaven.
P.S. Here are a couple of pictures of my nephew.