Tag Archives: children

Castles in the Sand

We are staying in a beautiful beach house at a time when leisure travel and accommodation is not permitted, by dint of a medical certificate. The beach in front of us has been largely overtaken by fishermen. When we’ve come here before, it’s been as part of a family group. Now it’s just us. We miss the grandchildren. Where’s the fun of having all this beach sand with no grandchildren to build sandcastles with? So we had to become like little children and build on our own. Once we got started, we actually had fun.

Later in the day, a group of fishermen and their families came down to the beach. A boy of about ten attracted our attention. He was wearing bright red shorts and doing cartwheels along the sand. Later, he took off his shorts and ran into the sea, his brown body glistening with salt water. After his swim, he ran along the beach. When he came to our sand castle, he stopped, examined it carefully then ran round and round it before running back to the fishing group. I was impressed by his sense of joy, fun and enthusiasm.

When Jesus 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,) I always thought He was talking about the unwavering trust of a child, the unconditional acceptance. Now I think He also meant that joy, that fun, which children find in everyday life. Nobody who has ever watched a little child delight in a ladybird, or even a snail, can resist the wonder of innocence. I think heaven is going to be a fun place, a place where we can just enjoy all the things God has for us.

We don’t have to wait for heaven. This beautiful earth that God has created for us, is full of things that inspire wonder and appreciation. Instead of rushing past them, or looking at all the things that are wrong with the world, wouldn’t it be fun to experience God’s gifts “new every morning?”

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end, they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. (Lamentations 3:22-23)

A Little Girl’s Prayer.

This is the story my best friend told me yesterday about her granddaughter.

The five-year-old had a sleep-over with Granny. She had been talking about how she wished she could see God doing something. Maybe a miracle! Before bed they prayed together and my friend asked her granddaughter what miracle she would like Jesus to do for her.

“I wish there were plants in my pot,” she said without hesitation.

Last year, the pre-primary school her two cousins attended had had a grandparents’ tea and each child made a bookmark as a gift for Granny and Grampa. The teachers had attached small packets of mixed flower seeds to each.

Like a good Granny, when my friend had all three girls together, she allowed each to plant seeds in her own special pot. Although the seeds in the cousins’ pots sprouted and bloomed, the third pot has remained barren for six months. Not the tiniest glimmer of anything green.

Until a little girl’s prayer.

My friend said, “Well, I thought to myself, I don’t want my grandchild to be disappointed so I’m going to play God and I’ve got some seeds in my room and when she’s sleeping in the dark I’m quickly going to go out and I’m going to plant those seeds and then when they come up, I’ll say, ‘Look, God has answered your prayer.'”

She sneaked out in the dark with a spade and the seeds and this is what she saw.

She was about to pull them out, thinking they were weeds, but on closer inspection in the dark they didn’t look like weeds. In the morning she thought she’d just have another look and see if they were flowers or weeds before showing them to her granddaughter but the thought came to her, How can you do this? God’s already done a miracle, how can you limit Him? For six months the pot has been absolutely barren. Now there are plants.

When the little girl ran out to look at her pot and she saw the small green leaves, her response was. “Thank you Jesus.”

I think this miracle was just as much for my friend as for her granddaughter.

Matthew 18: 2-4 tells us:

He called a little child to him and placed the child among them. And he said: Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” (NIV)