Ice Cream, Kids, and Delight

canstockphoto6204399Ice cream is delightful! I don’t know of many that would disagree with me. As a boy, Dad and I would go out to shoot the bows or go fishing and on the return trip, it seemed to me that we would pass an ice cream shop. I’d set my chin on the door and stare out the window like a dog begging for scraps from the table in hopes of Dad seeing my deepest most innermost need for that creamy goodness.

It was such a delightful surprise when he’d stop in and get us each an ice cream cone. I think as a kid, things tasted better. From a child’s perspective, I delighted in happenings such as these – probably much more than I do as an adult. As an adult, I can stop ANYTIME and get an ice cream cone. And with that mindset I take happenings like this for granted. They seem more insignificant and therefore not as delightful.

There’s a reason that Jesus responded with the following when His disciples asked who is the greatest in heaven.

And He called a child to Himself and set him before them and said, “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.“Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:2–4

Become like little children. Alrighty then! Let’s look at things from two childlike perspectives for a moment. A simple faith and a helpless state.

Simple Faith

The first perspective is simplicity. A kid sees pretty much everything as simple and takes what he or she is told at face value. When my daughter Jalynn was younger, I’d tell her that I was always watching her – that I had eyes in the back of my head.

I’m pretty sure Adam and Eve started this! It’s somewhere in Genesis I’m sure!

For the longest time, Jalynn went around fully believing that I had eyes in back of my head. And she thought that was pretty special so she wanted to tell everyone about this amazing detail!

Being a little girl, Jalynn loved (and still does – see post on Poof Poof Salon) to give me some pretty special hairdos. And in this one particular instance, she was combing through the back of my hair and abruptly stopped and began picking at the back of my head as if she was a monkey picking bugs! This went on for a minute or two and I finally asked her what it was she was looking for.

“I’m looking for your back eyes Dadda, but I can’t find them! Did you lose them!?!?”

Now you have to know Jalynn to really understand this. The tone in her voice was one of extreme worry and panic as she thought her daddy had lost his back eyes! In a calm voice I explained to her that the phrase “I’ve got eyes in the back of my head” meant that we are watching and she couldn’t do something without us finding out.

“Oh…” she replied. “So you didn’t lose them because you didn’t have them?” I told her “Yup, but I’m still always watching!” And she believed me, again without question, and resumed my fabulous hairdo!

THIS is a picture of SIMPLICITY for a kid and is what Jesus wants from us. Jalynn believed me wholly – without question. She took what I said and thoroughly believed. A child has no other option other than to believe what their parents tell them. It’s extreme trust. And they do so with such downright simple faith.

As adults, we tend to complicate things don’t we.  In seeking a significant experience with the Holy Spirit, we complicate it, thinking it has to be this big complicated thing. This is not true. Most of the significant experiences I’ve had with the Holy Spirit are when I’ve stripped down all the complicated and I’m left with the simple.

And I take what He has to stay at face value.

Helpless State

When a child is born, it is completely reliant on mom or dad. A baby can do nothing for itself, other than breathe and dirty a dozen diapers in a six hour period. Those two a baby does really well!

And as that child grows, mom and dad continue to provide and take care of, but teach responsibility, like going to the bathroom all by themselves! Yes, this dad proudly celebrated Ellynn’s (my last child) first poopy in the potty because it meant we were on the road to no more diapers!  Can I get an amen?!?!

Through the course of potty training, milestones were celebrated as a little independence was gained. This is a good, healthy independence that kids need. And as kids transition from one stage to another, they need good, healthy doses of independence as they can do more for themselves. This is a good thing!

But even with newfound independence, kids still are dependent on their parents. From a child’s perspective, the parents still provide everything the child needs. Even with new responsibilities and healthy doses of independence, their perspective sees mom and dad training, teaching, nurturing, providing, and ultimately loving their kids. They maintain their perspective that sees they are still helpless to provide EVERYTHING they need for themselves.

As adults, the natural tendency is we don’t want to be dependent on someone else. This just brings on a whole bunch of anxiety and pressure that just sours the abundant life that Jesus promised us. When we admit that we are still helpless that pressure and anxiety melts in the presence of Jesus. Abundant life is placed in our laps as we are able to live above worry and anxiety!

We are also helpless to save ourselves from our sinful state. Pride tells us we’re alright. But just like we have no physical resources of our own, we also have no spiritual resources on our own. We cannot save ourselves on our own merit. No amount of achievements, rules, or accomplishments are strong enough to hold us up when the bottom drops out.

A child’s perspective does not see his or her provision come as a result of what they accomplish. Provision is not conditionally based on achievements. Their provision is just there! Their expectation is that it will just be there!

Christian – our expectation of God ought to be the same! If we are living righteously, our Heavenly Father generously provides ALL that we need (2 Corinthians 9:8) both physically and spiritually!

We are helplessly and wonderfully dependent on God’s grace. We are hopeless to save ourselves from our destination when apart from a relationship with Jesus. We are utterly hopeless without the saving grace that flowed from Calvary! There is not ONE thing in us that is good enough.

And that’s something to REJOICE about!!! Because the pressure is off us to do so! We don’t HAVE to be good enough! We get to RELY COMPLETELY on God! We get to live in such an amazing peace that passes all understanding!!

This ought to make you want to shout for joy Christian!  Go ahead…I’ll wait while you do!

The realization of simply believing what God says, and remaining hopelessly dependent on Him reminds me of what the psalmist wrote.

Delight yourself in the LORD; And He will give you the desires of your heart. Psalms 37:4

My desire is to live righteously for Him so that I don’t have to worry about anything, trusting that He will generously provide all that I need! In that I delight! And in that He gives me the desires of my heart!

Think about it like this! I love a good pork roast. But a pork roast by itself doesn’t really have much flavor. It’s ordinary. So I smoke it! But even before I get to the point of smoking it, I take great care in mixing together a brine of salt, sugar, and spices from my rub recipe and then I let the pork roast sit in that brine overnight. I then pull the pork out of the brine, wash it off, and apply more rub to the roast. I then let it sit for another 30 minutes while I prepare the smoker. I use a blend of apple and oak wood chips to create the smokey flavor I’m after. But I don’t just throw the wood chips in. I soak them in water mixed with my rub. Then I put the chips in the smoker and use the water I soaked them in for moisture in the water pan. Finally the pork roast finds its way into the smoker.

The ordinary pork roast that I started with, 12 hours later, becomes extraordinary with so much flavor that it’ll turn a vegetarian into a meatatarian guaranteed!

When we have childlike faith that trusts God and what He says so deeply, and we admit our absolute dependence on His provision, He takes what is ordinary in life and makes it something extraordinary! He gives such a peace and abundance! He gives us the desires of our hearts (not worldly desires)

I think my ice cream experience fits nicely here. The ice cream cone that seems ordinary as an adult was extraordinary as a kid because of my perspective. I didn’t take it for granted that I could always get one. So when I did, I delighted in it! Indeed it was a special and significant happening that brought delight!

With the proper perspective, God can take the ordinary and make it extraordinary! Indeed what He does in our lives everyday is special and signifiant.  And that brings delight!

We simply need the proper perspective!