And they were bringing children to Jesus that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them. 14 But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. 15 Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” 16 And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them. – Mark 10:13-16
Some 50(+/-) years ago Kathy, my sister, died in a tragic accident in our home. It was a traumatic event in our family. She was only 7 years old, and it left a hole in our hearts and our family. It was so comforting to think of these verses whenever we thought of Kathy: Blessed by Jesus. Received into his arms. Defended by him. Loved by God.
When our youngest son was born we had need to send him to a children’s hospital in a town 40 miles away. On the day we learned of this, I baptized him, and knew without a doubt that promises of God’s grace, love, and forgiveness were applied to him in that moment: a great relief and comfort.
Just a few years ago Diane and I were on our way home from a late night church meeting. It was not only dark, but late and lonely. We saw a young woman, about 40 years old, out in the dark, asking for money. Turned out she was getting money for her dog. We also learned that her name was Kathy. Later that night I realized that my sister would have been just about that age – had she lived. I still take a deep breath when I think of that night and that woman. Little children grow up to become women. Some carry scars from their younger years that stay with them for decades. Think of that the next time you see a young child. He or she will grow up to be a man or woman, shaped much by the love, kindness, discipline, mercy, grace and truth shared with him or her as a child.
Jesus valued children. He blessed them, taking them in his arms and laying his hands on them. He said that to such as them belong the kingdom of heaven. He told the people of his day that their angels continually behold the face of the Father in heaven. Jesus loves the little children. Any energy, love, care, protection, and kindness we pour into their lives is a reflection of his love. Any way we can do so is worthy of any effort it takes.