But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.” –Luke 18:16-17
I was doing my usual weekday morning routine, fixing four school lunches. Sitting at the bar stool eating her cereal, my youngest daughter busted out with, “Dad, today is going to be the best day ever.”
“Really, why do you say that?”
“I don’t know. I just know it’s going to be the best day ever.” To which she added a list of friends she would see at school, adventures they would embark on at lunchtime, and other assorted activities that necessitated the pronouncement that “today was going to be the best day ever.”
“You know you said the same thing yesterday.”
“I know. But that was yesterday. Today is going be the best day ever.”
In that simple conversation, I realized something. For children, every day is an adventure. At the very core of a child is this sense of anticipation, a sense that every day holds something new, something that just wasn’t there yesterday.
Today is not going to be like yesterday.
The Scriptures emerged out of an ancient Near Eastern worldview. It was a mindset that saw the world cyclically. History was a never-ending cycle of birth-death-rebirth. It was predictable and in that predictability there was comfort. Celebrations and festivals were in place to celebrate the greater rhythm, the greater cycle of life.
One word you would never hear was this: new.
You see, in the predictability of life, there comes a certain sense of despair. “This is the way life is” turns into “This is the way life will always be.”
Yet the Scriptures are filled with stories of God inviting people to step out of the cycle and into something, well… new.
God invites Abraham to leave the land of his ancestors and step into something new (Genesis 12). God invites Moses up onto a mountain and into something new… a relationship His people had never known before (Exodus 3-4). Jesus looks out upon some fishermen one day and invites them to leave everything behind and follow Him… into something new and fresh (Matthew 4). Something deep within a child connects with the anticipation of what will be new. So it should be with us. Our Creator is a God who invites us to step out from within cycles of despair, into something new, something hope-filled.
Perhaps we need to take a lesson from a child. Today, this very day, holds something that no other day before has. Things can be different. This is not how things will always be. There is hope.
Things can be…
Where do you need hope that things can be new? Ask God to invade you with a sense of hope in the midst of despair. Begin to gather around yourself people who can help you see the hope in today.
Genesis 12:1-4; Exodus 3; Matthew 4:18-20