Often as I'm working and playing with the children I hear myself say things and suddenly find myself wondering (sometimes rather sheepishly) how often God tries to say these same things to me and how well I'm really listening.
All too often what I hear myself saying is "No" or "Stop that right now!" And then there is the exasperated "Are you listening to a word I say? I might as well go talk to that tree out there?" Sound familiar? Anyone?
I stop and look at the expressions on their little faces - expressions of annoyance at having their plans thwarted, questioning looks when they don't understand why, or sometimes simply looks of defiance as their own little wills fight back. And I'm all too aware of how often, just like these little ones, I am annoyed at the "No" or "Stop" and I sometimes even figuratively stamp my foot a little in a moment of feeling defiant.
And then there are the times I fancy I hear a voice saying "Are you listening to a word I am saying? The rocks and trees are mre responsive than this!"
But there is one big difference here between myinteractions with the little ones and God's interactions with His little ones. My "No" and "Stop" is far too frequently more for my benefit than theirs. If I'm honest with myself there are too many times when I am simply tired or impatient or have too many other things that I want to be doing to grant the request of that child or to "out up with" whatever it is I am saying "Stop" about. And these are never God's reasons. His reasons are always, Always, ALWAYS for my own good. It is His infinite love and compassion that prompts Him to say "No" to a harmful choice, or "Stop" when I begin to travel a dangerous path.
But there arealso other things that I say to the children that I believe God often say to me. They are positve things and God is so much better than I am at giving these positive messages. I've read that ration of positive to negative messages to children should be 7-1 and I fail miserably at this. But if I'm listening for it I realize God far exceeds this.
When I mess up somehow, make a mistake, when my choices cause chaos in spite of my best intentions I hear Him say "Don't give up, keep trying" and always there is the offer to talk it over with Him as well as a comforting Shoulder to lean on.
When things beyond my control threaten to overwhelm me and I feel like a lost child I hear Him say "I'm here. I'll take care of you. Just leave it to me and don't worry about it."
And always, always there is "I love you. I made you to be exactly the person I want you to be. Never forget that you are unique and special to Me."
And then I am inspired to share these encouraging and uplifting words with the children. Because if my Heavenly Father can say these things to me, the one who so often messes up, surely I can pass it on to these innocent little ones in my care.