I’m not good with kids.
At least I don’t feel like I am. I tend to be one of those adults that are constantly thinking about big things. I always have an idea for a big new project or I’m thinking about big consequences and digging deep for big meaning. I like my conversations to be powerful, heavy and deep. Little things bother me. Little things are insignificant. Little things are a waste of time.
That’s why last night at Home Church God gave me an opportunity to do something completely out of character. And I loved every second of it!
Our regular crowd consists of between 10 to 15 adults and about 8 to 10 children. The children range from babies up to about 9 years old. At the beginning of the evening the children go down to the basement to play games and watch movies while the adults stay upstairs and talk about the important stuff.
I love my Home Church. We discuss all the things I thrive on, we dig deep into scripture and learn a lot of great stuff together without the distraction of childish concerns. Last night however I learned more about the value of simple faith from a 9 year old girl than I have learned in nearly seven years as an elder in my church.
As our meeting was wrapping up the children came thundering up the stairs and interrupted our prayer time. Rather than try and stifle their enthusiasm I simply skipped the closing prayer and told everyone we’d pray for one another on our own time throughout the week, if anyone had anything specific we could be in touch directly via text or on our Facebook page. That was it there was no point in trying to bring it back down and pray with all those kids running around.
But this one little girl, who couldn’t be more than 8 or 9 years old, sat down next me and said “Aren’t we going to pray?”
My immediate thought was, “No you’re being too noisy, go play with your brother” but there was something in the way she asked that pulled me up short. I knew there was something on her mind so I said “Well, you and I can pray, just the two of us, what would you like to talk to God about?”
Surrounded by all the noise and chaos of the rest of the kids she proceeded to tell me a story, as only a 9 year old girl can, about how her dog got a scratch on her nose and a cut on her paw while she was away for the weekend and she didn’t know how it happened. I’ll be honest, a dog that sounded like it maybe had a run in with a neighbourhood cat is not something a guy like me considers very significant but to this little girl it was her whole world. It was significant enough that she sought out an adult who she hardly knows and asked for help talking to God about it. So I did the only thing I could do, amid the din I leaned in, bowed my head and asked God to heal her dog.
Six months from know I’m not going to remember what our adult Home Church discussion was about, the details are already starting to fade but I am going to remember the simple faith of that little girl. And perhaps more importantly I hope she’s going to remember that it’s okay to ask an adult to pray with her for the things she finds significant. That’s what Home Church community, no family, is all about.
Our key scripture passage last night was Ephesians 2: 8-10
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
We talked a lot about what it means to do good works, to pass on our faith and to extend grace. Maybe because I’m a slow learner and maybe because I need to work on my relationships with children, God gave me an immediate object lesson that I won’t soon forget.
We would all do well to pray for the injured dogs of the world and anything else children find significant.