The hands eagerly shot up into the air. All of the preschool students were willing and excited to close in prayer. How do you pick just one child who eagerly wants to talk to God? One was chosen and I look to see all the pudgy little fingers fold together. They all assume their own unique prayer positions and a quiet, fervent voice breaks through the silence. In a hushed whisper, almost as if it were too personal and intimate to speak out loud, this small child says, "I love you, Jesus. Amen." Oh, how my heart melts. Those simple words of a child that resonate louder than the fanciest prayers with the longest words. I can only imagine the warm smile on Christ's face as He hears those sweet, sincere words. It is no wonder God chose to speak to us through His word on the faith of a child. Uninhibited, free, hungry.
Father, you have taught us many, many things as we have grown older. However, in that time we have allowed the world to teach us so many untruths as well. Father, undo the lessons of the world and return us to our first love. Return us to the faith of a child. Father, give me that hunger without fear.
It is amazing the lessons we learn from such small children. It is a bit ironic that we are learning them as we teach them. We both will be the first to admit that teaching elementary or preschool children does not come natural to us. We love it, but it is hard work. Just when we think we have a chapel message or a counseling lesson broken down far enough for their understanding, we find that there were further levels to go. Each week as Steve meets with the elementary for chapel or each month that Paula meets with them for counseling time we leave exhausted from the task but so blessed. We often wonder if we are being called to this part of our job for our own spiritual walk - less for them.
Many days we can get discouraged with the lessons that just don't seem to penetrate the hearts and minds of the secondary students in front of us. How desperately we want them to know Christ. But in those short moments that we are in with those elementary children we realize that God is working and we need to have their kind of faith.
As we talk today about our lives and our faith we are convicted that there is nothing more to say that sums it up better than simply saying - fervently, honestly, desperately; "We love you Jesus. Amen"