Last Friday, we took our children to an amusement park not too far from where we live. My parents came along to enjoy the day, and to help out with little ones. My son was quite determined to find either a shark tooth or alligator tooth necklace, so naturally, his Papa assisted in finding and purchasing him one.
My 4-year-old daughter and I looked at a few of the charms for necklaces, and I kept pointing out the butterflies, hearts, guitars, etc…basically the ones I thought she would want. She carefully picked up and inspected each one, thought long and hard about her choice, then picked up a yellow cross with small red dots on it and said “I pick the Cross”. I have to admit that I was a little surprised by her choice. I just didn’t guess that she would choose a cross for her necklace. After all, there were far more shiny, decorative, and cute ones that little girls tend to find appealing.
I asked her again if it was what she wanted, and she said, “Yes, I pick the Cross”. My heart was warmed by this. Our daughter seems to have always been a child who embraces God. She has reminded me time again that God lives in her heart. She leads the prayer at dinner time, and if we get a in hurry to eat, she reminds us that we must pray first. She wakes up nearly every day wondering if it is Sunday because she is excited to go to church. She has asked time and again if she was a little baby in Heaven with God before she was in her birth mother’s belly. I probably shouldn’t be too surprised that she picked the Cross for a necklace that her Papa bought her.
In thinking about this again today, I thought of why Jesus reminds of being like a little child and having a child-like faith. I know there have been and still are times when I do not pick the Cross. Instead, I have picked the shiny, appealing, and popular things the world has to offer. I still struggle with wanting more of the world’s charms, and find it a constant battle to focus on desiring the Lord over anything else. If I told you otherwise, I would be a liar. Even if I didn’t admit it out loud, God would still hear the words of my heart, and the longings of my desires that often sway me from Him.
The world tells us, “Pick me! Pick me! Don’t do what you think God wants you to do. Do what is best for you, what will put you ahead, and what will serve you. Don’t listen to Him. Don’t pick the Cross.” In those times when I have listened to the world, I have missed out on the blessings that come from walking in His light. On the contrary, in those times that I have ignored the world and focused my actions on His calling, I have been abundantly blessed with grace, insight, and strength.
I often learn wonderfully humbling things from my children, and am sure that I will continue to as I raise them. I am also quite sure that I will walk the fine line of balancing my desire for the world with choosing to follow Christ throughout the rest of my life. I know though, that living a life in faith and choosing to pick the Cross will never cause me to fail or lose. I will have gained everything that is worthy of gaining by choosing the Cross, and by choosing Him. After all, Jesus gave everything up, and carried the Cross for me.
Father, Thank you for using my daughter to teach me about You. Thank you for instilling in her a heart that longs for You, and I pray for Divine protection over her. Father, help me, and help us all to always pick the Cross, and our Lord and Savior over anything else in the world.