I have learned that if you listen very carefully, you can hear God speaking through the lips of your little ones. There have been numerous times when the words of my young children brought conviction upon me as I hustled through the daily routines of the busy parent. God’s Word tells us we are to have the faith of a child. I think that as adults we can learn much from our children if indeed we really listen.
One stormy evening many years ago, we were putting the children to bed. Our boys shared a room and went on to bed without incident. Our three-year- old daughter, however, was another story. She was already planning her strategy to sleep with us.
She was not exactly pleasant bed company, as she usually ended up sleeping crosswise with her feet in someone’s face. I steered her back to her room and placed her back into her own bed. We visited for a few minutes and said another prayer. Before I left, I tried to reassure her of her safety, with all of her teddy bears tucked in tightly around her, and then reminded her that Jesus was always with her too.
Pining for the inevitable last word, she looked up at me from beneath her blankets and with the saddest of eyes said,
“But I need somebody with skin on!”
So as she climbed into our bed (yes, she won that one), I lay there beside her and thought about the depth of the words she had just spoken. I realized that too many times in ministering to others we attempt to offer a quick fix with words of consolation and promises of God’s presence.
There is a popular phrase among church leaders stating, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” I have found this to be profoundly true. There are times when someone needs more than brief consolation; they need you!
And isn’t that what Jesus calls us to do?
Second Corinthians 1:3–4 declares, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our afflictions, that we may be able to comfort those which are in any affliction, by the [same] comfort with which we ourselves are comforted of God.”
God does not comfort us just to make us comfortable but to make us comforters!
I question the sometimes-flippant use of the adage “misery loves company.” It can be inclined to suggest the notion that misery prefers like or similar company. If that is true, then misery will always be miserable. What misery really wants is help! It wants understanding, compassion, mercy, grace, forgiveness, and acceptance. It wants to be heard, and many times, it just wants to be held!
God is calling us to put into practice with others what He has done for us. Recognize that sometimes people need more than just a pat on the back; they need true, heartfelt comfort, full of mercy and compassion. It is the beauty of the family of God living out the kingdom of God.
Heavenly Father, I thank you for the times You speak to us through our little ones. Give us ears to hear and hearts to receive. Help us to comfort others with the same comfort by which we have been comforted. Teach us to be sensitive and compassionate. Teach us to be Jesus … with skin on! In His precious name, amen.