Become as a little child again? How I would love to do that—to be able to rest fully in my parents’ love and strength. To feel no need (or ability) to contribute anything to our perfect lives together. To do things for them, even clumsy or useless things, just because I loved them so and wanted to make them happy.
I suppose this is especially hard for us female baby boomers, having been so thoroughly brainwashed by the likes of Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinem. They taught us that it’s my way or the highway, that anything less than total independence is tyranny, that we were fools if we let anyone influence our thinking or decision-making. It takes some doing to drive that sort of worldly wisdom out of a formerly feminist heart, and I’m not quite there yet. Maybe I won’t be this side of heaven.
Ah, but I once knew a woman who possessed something very close to childlike faith in the God of the Bible. Her name was Joan. After I was saved, she and I spent a great deal of time together at the nursing home where we both volunteered.
Joan prayed more frequently than anyone I’ve ever known. Much of the time, she kept up a running conversation with God in her head. She thanked Him for all she found good in life, which was just about everything. She told Him how beautiful this or that aspect of His creation was. She brought ailing friends to His attention, and was careful to lift up those who were in desperate need of salvation.
But most of all, Joan asked God for help with just about every decision she made. She invited Him to help her choose the clothing she’d put on that day, and to direct her driving, and to let her know which friend to phone first that night. She asked for guidance on which book of the Bible to study that day, or that week.
Joan even asked the Lord to tell her which type and brand of cereal to buy at the grocery store.
I went along with most of this, thinking it all just a little eccentric and a lot charming. But I drew the line in the cereal aisle. What possible difference did it make to God whether she purchased Cheerios or Shredded Wheat?
I hadn’t thought of this for ages. But today, checking out the cereals at Aldi’s, I remembered Joan and this humorous little habit of hers.
And then it struck me: The Lord probably didn’t care what cereal she bought. But I’ll bet He cared very much that she so valued His opinion. I’ll bet He loved the humility and submission that were inherent in her request. And I’ll bet He smiled every morning when she poured out a bowl of the cereal of the week, and thanked Him gratefully for meeting her every need.
I’m always looking in Scripture and biographies and amongst my brothers and sisters in Christ for models of godliness to emulate. And I see a great deal that is surely pleasing to Him.
But while standing there today in the cereal aisle, I had an epiphany: God had given me a dozen years of close fellowship with a woman who epitomized the kind of faith I want most desperately. And all I could do at the time was smile indulgently at her.
Talk about missing the forest for the trees.
Joan went to be with the Lord several years ago. I miss her, and she’s one of those I most look forward to seeing again, beyond the sunset.
In the meantime, I thank the Lord for bringing us together. And I ask Him to help me be a little more like her with every passing day.