Hey You… How Do You Feel?
Jesus Blesses the Children
13 One day some parents brought their children to Jesus so he could touch and bless them. But the disciples scolded the parents for bothering him.
14 When Jesus saw what was happening, he was angry with his disciples. He said to them, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children. 15 I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.” 16 Then he took the children in his arms and placed his hands on their heads and blessed them.
I remember the first time I scored a touchdown in my hometown Pee-Wee football league. I was 10 years old and when I heard the coach call the play I almost vomited I was so nervous. Somehow, I caught the ball and tumbled into the endzone. When I heard the ref blow his whistle and the crowd in the stands erupt with cheers I almost exploded with excitement. I will never forget that moment and the way I felt.
I remember the way I felt on the day I married my wife. Excitement, anxiousness, anticipation, and joy. I’m pretty sure if you could have bottled my emotions that day we all would have the energy required for cars to fly. Pure jubilation is all I can think of to describe it. I will never forget that day and the way I felt.
I remember watching each of my children be born. What a wild and wonderful experience. I can remember thinking each time, how is this possible? How in the world does God use broken people to make new life. It's surreal, overwhelming and totally exciting. I remember being mystified by God’s grace that He would entrust each of these humans into my care. I will never forget the way I felt on each of those days.
I remember the day I gave my life to Jesus. After getting over the initial shock there is a God in Heaven, and He does love me, I remember feeling a sensation of actually being alive. It was all the emotions and feelings of all the experiences mentioned, wrapped into one. Of course, our relationship with Jesus is not built upon our emotions and how we feel. His Word is our standard of Truth. He did create us with emotions and feelings so we probably should not ignore them. In fact, that's one of the keys of child-likeness that gives us access to the Kingdom of Heaven. Children don’t ignore the way they feel. Worn out tired adults do. Think about that for a moment. A child has no problem identifying how they feel and going desperately to a provider to get what they need. They, unlike most adults, have not been beat down by life in such a way where they want to numb themselves and hide from their emotions and feelings. I think this is why the disciples thought Jesus/God had no time to spend with children. They were just projecting what life Had taught them to feel about themselves. The disciples were just trying to teach the kids how to grow up and act like them. They probably wanted the kids to calm down, and earn their time with Jesus like they felt they had. Jesus, in His love, used the opportunity to explain to the disciples how we relate to Him best when we come to Him as a child. We come to him with all of our raw emotions and feelings in tow. Instead of ignoring the way we feel, and discarding the emotions that identify them, we need to use them as a vessel to desperately approach Jesus and His Word. The enemy does a great job of using life to make us numb to the way we feel. He whispers to us, “If God loved you, why would He let you feel this way”? When we believe this lie, we in turn take what we feel and stuff it away, so that we don't have messy emotions disrupting our relationship with God. Which then causes us to miss the point of why we have emotions and feelings in the first place. The way you feel and your emotions should be viewed as a catapult into God’s arms, not a roadblock. If you don’t learn to embrace the way you feel and use it to approach Jesus boldly, like a child, you eventually will resent the way you feel, followed by resentment for yourself. Undoubtedly, you will begin resenting people who worship Jesus in a way you're not comfortable with, like the disciples responding to the parents of eager children clambering to spend time with Jesus. The disciples decided it was disrespectful to God's time.
Verse 15 should really make you think deeply about this. Jesus explains, the more you avoid yourself, the way you feel and when you replace childlike dependency with self righteousness, the further you walk away from the Kingdom of God. God has time for you, every emotional mess and feeling you could ever bring Him. In fact, He looks forward to spending time with you. The thing is He wants all of you, not just the parts you're willing to deal with.
We all have been through alot the last couple of years! The pandemic alone will keep counselors and other mental health experts in business for decades to come. The worst thing we can do, as Jesus people, is lie to ourselves when we are not ok and just go on as if business as usual. Get real with how you feel, embrace your emotions and allow them to drive you to His presence. In doing so, you will receive more of His Kingdom than you knew was available to you.