God has blessed me with 11 grandchildren… so far.
Currently they are ages 7, 7, 6, 6, 6, 4, 3, 3, 2, 1, and 6 months. I look at that roster and marvel at the joy and creativity they bring to life.
Most interesting are the ideas they have. Take Micah, for example, age six. During my last visit, we had thrown away a cardboard box, after which Micah had sequestered himself with it. A few minutes later he reappeared. “Look everybody! I made my own sandals!”
Even one-year-olds have clever ideas. After little Lizzie first spotted her birthday cake, she knew immediately what she needed to do. Wanting to get maximum pleasure for minimal effort, she moved in on the cake in the most efficient way possible: by sucking it. Good idea!
Skylar at seven initiated a game of hide and seek – with a twist. We were instructed to hunt for items she’d hidden that were, if we looked carefully, fully visible. None of us found this one – her pink purse, camouflaged in a bush of pink flowers. (Center of picture.)
Kids are a fountain of fresh ideas and love to experiment with them. Many turn into failures, but that’s how they learn. We adults monitor from afar and intervene if something has potential to harm.
Grown-ups have plenty of ideas, too, and love to try them out in much the same way children do. But if we’re Christians, we’d better run those ideas past God first, because they can be contrary to what he’s already told us won’t work. Just like children, though, we often try our ideas anyway, sometimes bringing long-term misery. Taking God’s advice over our own is always a better strategy.
Sadly, it’s not easy to adopt another person’s idea over our own, especially if it comes in the form of a warning. It means shifting gears and accepting that his recommendation is better than ours. It’s especially difficult to do that, if we have an emotional attachment to our idea. In that case our hearts try hard to overrule God’s wisdom. We say, “I know you don’t like this, Lord, but I just want to do it!”
Sound like a child?
Maybe that’s why God does, indeed, call us children (1 John 3:1), because we have no trouble acting that way. At least he says we’re his children.
Surely our heavenly Father doesn’t love us any less when we go against his counsel and our ideas fail. Just like an earthly parent, he uses those failures to teach us.
But the best idea of all might be that each time we have “a good idea,” we run it past him before we plunge ahead.
“Be imitators of God, as beloved children.” (Ephesians 5:1)