Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 18:3)
I cannot count the number of times I have tried to explain to younglings that adults are really just children with more money, power, and responsibility. Tongue-and-cheek as that statement is, there is something to it.
We grown ups like to pretend that we have it all together, when in reality, we rarely do. Unfortunately, the child-like characteristics that we tend to keep into later life are usually not the best qualities. We quarrel. We fight. We pretend we know everything. We want what we want now. Now now.
When Jesus says that we must become like children, that is not what he means.
At some point, all of us were children. Though often overlooked, children are resilient, kind, courageous, open, carefree, loving, and willing to do anything for those who care for them. They bear far more resemblance to the God we serve than most adults do. They still bear the marks of their gracious Creator in greater strength. They believe because no one has told them not to.
Unfortunately, at some point, that utopian innocence leaves us. At whatever age it does, we begin to bear the wounds of a world in the throes of chaos and the pain of broken promises and dreams. Hope diminishes and faith gets complicated. Our eyes become blind to the wonders that were once so easy to perceive.
That is the human story. It is all of our story. It is also the story of the Pevensie children. For them, it was the harsh realities of the London Blitz and World War II that forced them to “grow up.” Their world came crashing down and they were left to pick up the pieces.
When Lucy first enters the wardrobe, she does not know that for which she is looking. Yet she still seeks it. She sees a light, feels a change, and pursues it. The youngest, she still has the best memory of the wonder. It is easiest for her to believe in the impossible. The other children face a steeper slope, like the rest of us.
My invitation to you during this Lenten season is to still your minds (as best you can), open your hearts, and look for that same unexpected light. The wonder is still there in all of us – for we were all crafted and molded by that same Creator. It may be buried deep beneath the scars of a messy life; but I assure you, it is there. Take the next steps through the wardrobe, into a world of magic and possibilities. And let us see how our vision of this world, this life, and who we are transforms.