It was time for milk. John, my almost one year-old grandson, was fidgeting and giving him a little milk before nap helped him to calm down. And so, the prepare-for-nap ritual began:
– Remove the bottle from the refrigerator.
– Place bottle in warmer.
– Make sure, due to experience, warmer is turned on.
– Let bottle warm to perfect temperature.
If it’s not warm enough, John will make faces. If it’s too warm, he won’t touch it. It has to be just right because he thinks he’s a baby bear.
– Remove bottle.
– Walk to living room and sit in rocking chair.
– Feed John his much-awaited bottle.
So – I did all that. I took out the bottle, warmed it up, sat down with his favorite blanky and John on my lap and he began to drink. I laid my head back and could have fallen asleep. But I didn’t. Instead, I looked down at John and smiled.
So precious is this little boy.
“Grammy loves you,” I whispered.
He smiled. And then I noticed my dreaded mistake.
Though John seemed quite content, I noticed I had forgotten to remove the plug. That thin piece of plastic that separates the lower portion of the bottle from nipple. The part that keeps the milk from leaking because no milk can pass through.
Almost at the same moment, perhaps because he saw the look on my face, he backed away from the bottle, looked at the nipple and looked at me and screamed bloody murder.
John doesn’t cry. Let me rephrase that. His parents say he cries, but honestly, he has only cried less than a handful of times and that is when lunch doesn’t come fast enough or Grammy forgot to remove the plug. And so it was on this day John screamed.
As he screamed, I tried to reassure him I was only removing the bottle from his grip in order to give him something better. I was replacing the tasteless air with delicious milk.
He didn’t care.
He wanted his bottle back with me pulling the plug without him having to let go. However, I had to take it away to if he was going to get any milk from it.
Well, I ended up giving it back to him – after I removed the plug. Was he happy to get his bottle back? Of course. Was he happier when he realized now he was actually getting milk? His little grin confirmed that fact. Yes – he was happier.
When I told John something better was coming, it reminded me of the tendency we have as faithless human beings that when God removes certain things from us, we can kick and scream, too. We’re no different than John or any other baby or child. When God said, “Unless you become like little children…” I am quite confident that imitating their tantrums isn’t quite what he meant.
What He meant was to come to him in faith, childlike faith (John was short on that that particular day). Come to Him, believing that He is good. That He is sovereign and holy. Just and merciful. That He wants His best for you. Come to Him with your grip loosened, ready to let go. If He’s asking for whatever it is you’re holding onto, He’s got something better in mind.
“And he said: ‘Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.’” Matthew 18:3 NIV