Church-Community Connection: 2022: Time for a personal reset? | Online features
PActor Bill Johnson says, “We have to stay childish. Children don’t dream of being insignificant. We must remember this in these crazy and absurd times. Children begin to see life beautifully and innocently. But ultimately life reaches them, shapes them, holds them back, and hurts them. Very often, temporary negatives turn into permanent negatives, and lives are spent searching for meaning in the wrong places.
Recently I found a short story that my son Matthew wrote when he was about 10 years old. It illustrates how children do not dream of being insignificant. The story is called “The Bass”. If you think anglers have big fish stories, wait until you read Matt’s fish story:
“One day I went fishing with my dad at Big Daddy Lake. However, this lake does not take its name from an old fog. No, it has bass the size of the state of Alaska. Okay, anyway, I was using a crankbait as big as my head, and I threw it about twenty feet. I stung the fish. It was a little dinky bass.
While dad was thinking about how I caught him on my hipper size crankbait, I threw my lure again at a large boulder. This rock was not a pebble. It was a huge boulder crushing bones. Well, I started to roll it up, and I felt a nibble. WWWWAAAHHHH !!!! Dad! Mast! AAAHH! SPLASH!!! Blurb, Blurb.
Then I saw him. It was huge! He dragged me through the grass and the rocks. (The rocky part hurt me.) Then I saw a tree, grabbed it, and hung on for life. I started winding the bass. Finally, I approached him close enough to grab him. Bad idea on my part. Weeeeeeee! It was awesome. I saw the boat. I grabbed the boat and the fish and got in.
I told daddy to take the “weigher”. The bass weighed 600 pounds. Dad and I went back to the fishing pier and I won the bass tournament. Then we got home and sat down to think about how I had done. Dad always acts a little weird. I think it damaged his brain to think I caught a bass bigger than him. The end.”
Well you just looked through the eyes of Matthew, who has a big imagination and an even more positive attitude.
As Pastor Johnson said, kids don’t dream of being insignificant, especially 10-year-old Matt. It hurts us adults, mentally and emotionally, to hate, complain, become hurt, bitter, cynical, or lose our joy. It’s even worse to lose our confidence and our perspective as children. Friedrich Nietzsche said: “He who fights too long against dragons becomes himself a dragon. The most brutal prison to escape may be the spirit.
Jesus addressed this idea in Matthew: 18. He wanted people who lived through dark times to look at life through the eyes of a child. Jesus didn’t mean they should be childish. Instead, he suggested that in order to enter the kingdom of God, we must become confident as a child. Otherwise, complex adult problems like the ones mentioned will cripple us. For the pure, everything is pure.
When truth, simplicity, and purity come, dragons can no longer see good or God. They lose trust in God, and they lose their perspective. God is there, but they cannot see God at work on their behalf.
Wise but confident people see God in both good and bad. Mature Christ followers and people see God in the pleasures and palaces and courtyards and stables of life. When the wise follow a star and find a stable, they seek God in the stable and find him. It takes to see things as God sees them by looking through the eyes of a child.
God chose to become a baby, not a “dazzling” form of a king, politician, or artist. But, over time, this baby turned out to be more powerful than the entire Roman Empire. John Maxwell wrote about this truth from a writer written many years ago. Read on:
“A century ago, men followed Napoleon’s march with bated breath and eagerly awaited news of the war. And all the time, while they were in their house, babies were born. But who could think of babies? Everyone was thinking of the battles.
“In a year he stole a host of heroes from the world. Gladstone was born in Liverpool, England, and Tennyson in Somersby. Oliver Wendell Holmes was born in Massachusetts. On the same day of the same year, Charles Darwin made his debut at Shrewsbury. Abraham Lincoln drew his first breath in old Kentucky, and the birth of Felix Mendelssohn enriched music in Hamburg.
“But nobody was thinking about babies. Everyone was thinking of the battles. Yet which of the battles of 1809 counted more than the babies born in 1809? When an evil wants to be fixed, or a truth wants to be taught, or a continent wants to open up, God sends a child to do it.
So what does “childish” look like to us adults and adolescents?
“Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure it all out on your own. Hear the voice of God in everything you do, wherever you go. God is the one who will keep you on track. Don’t assume you know everything, run to God, not God. Proverbs 3: 5-7.
This 2022, birth of the baby from a personal reset. Don’t let current events rob you of the awe and wonder of life. The year is new, why not you too.