When I look back to my childhood, I don’t remember worrying about things like pandemics, police brutality, and racism. I was in Kindergarten when 9/11 happened, and I can’t even tell you if I was sad about that or not. Even when I look at pictures, I cannot remember the things that happened during or after that photo. I am a horrible example of hindsight is 20/20.
Although, the few things I do remember, I think on them daily or those memories are always accessible at any moment. The stories my mom read to me, the moments I cherished with my family, certain toys that remind me of my childhood, TV shows or movies I always quote. The things I remember, are a part of me. (And if you are reading this and this is not your story, your childhood was not a fond memory, I pray that somehow, someway, and someday that you will experience the joy of being a child, especially a child of God.)
I was doing a bible study in a park (also taking random pictures), going over a story I have read a thousand times, and my mother read it to us a thousand times when we were younger. But this time, I saw something new in the story. It felt like I was reading the story for the first time. This sudden passion, with beautiful flowers surrounding me and hearing the laughter of children playing, for a moment, I wished to be a kid again. To forget my worries and go back to playing with yo-yos or trying to learn how to ride a bike. Then I remembered 1 Corinthians 13:11.
When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.1 Corinthians 13:11 NKJV
When a seed is planted, a plant will grow. When a storm comes, the plant cannot be like a turtle and go back into the soil. It stays out. The storm will either rip the plant apart, or the plant could be rooted in the ground and survive. Though it might be a little damaged and will need time to heal. And sometimes even a damaged flower can still be beautiful (at least I think so). The survival of the plant is not determined by the storm, but by its roots and its gardener.
Our heart, our souls, are plants that need certain things to grow: love, hope, and faith. The storms are these things we cannot control: pandemics, other people’s prejudices, violence. The soil is our environment: experiences past and present. Who the gardener is, that’s your choice.
We can try to take care of our own plant. Using those self-help books, things we have learned from soils and storms past, we can try to prepare or brave the storms that come. But a plant focusing on how to grow stronger and prettier, a plant alone, cannot also grow roots to brave the storm. We need help.
A gardener’s job is to know how to take care of a plant. A gardener has special tools to protect or help a plant survive a storm. A gardener also has tools that help a plant grow or change the soil around a plant. A gardener knows how to completely remove a plant from its old unhealthy soil into a new one. I think you see where I’m going. We need outside help, we need God.
God can keep us from bending to the ground to hide from the storms of life, He can help us push away the things of the past, but also not forget what we learned. He won’t let our soil choke us. He will help us brave the storm, or shield us from it. He knows and is willing to help. This is where we go to God like a child. We simply say we need Him.
But Jesus called them to Him and said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God. Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.”Luke 18: 16-17
So, while these horrible storms rage on, changing everything we know, who is taking care of your heart? You, or God?