Lenten Devotional Series 2020: Day 9

Taking a Leap  by Tamasha Tennant

Before I sat down to work on this devotional, I caught my youngest child, age 5, attempting to jump from the 6th step down to the floor, which would have required also clearing the baby gate on the first step.  She pumped her arms twice and was ready to take the plunge before I caught her by her shirt and pulled her back from what would certainly have been a disaster.  She was upset that I foiled her plan.  “I could’ve done it, Mom,” she huffed and pouted.  “I can do everything.” 

The memory of that was fresh as I read the verses, so I thought I would ask all of the kids what they would do in the situations described in Matthew 7: 7-12.  Bella is 5; Charis is 10, and Christian is 13.

  1. You need something.
    1. Bella (5): (with both palms extended out, facing up) Just ask Mom and Dad.
    2. Charis (10): Ask Mom.  If she doesn’t know, ask Dad.
    3. Christian (13): Figure out a way to get it. If I can’t figure it out, ask Mom and Dad.
  1. You look for something, but you cannot find it.
    1. Bella: Keeping looking and if you can’t find it, ask someone to help you look.
    2. Charis: Ask someone if they’ve seen it, and retrace your footsteps until you find it.
    3. Christian: Stop looking and move on.
  1. What happens when you knock on a door?
    1. Bella: Someone opens it and you go right in and probably eat something.
    2. Charis: Someone answers.
    3. Christian: Someone might

Bella, as the youngest and the one with the least amount of life experience, answered each question very easily and without hesitation, the same fearlessness and determination that she’d just demonstrated at the stairs.  You ask your parents for help.  You ask others for help. If you knock on a door, not only will it absolutely be opened, but you will likely even get fed.

Charis shared the quick confidence of his sister (though it’s funny that he made it clear that you ask Mom first, and then ask Dad)!  Interestingly enough, he also mentions retracing your footsteps to see if somehow you missed something.   In the end, there is no “if”.  It might take some time, but what you seek shall be found with some real effort.  Self-actualization and introspection, told by a 10 year-old.

Christian, now a teenager, hesitated before answering, but you can see the self-reliance is evident.  First, try to do things on your own.  Ask someone for help as a last option, or just give up completely.  It’s not certain that you’ll get help even if you ask for it.  I will admit that his answers, in immediate comparison to his siblings’ answers, made me sad.  His answers mirrored my own, if I’m completely honest.

Wouldn’t it be nice to have the confidence of a child sometimes?  To know that our needs will be met, that searches will be fruitful, and to know that doors will be opened? How is it that we get it ingrained in our minds that asking for things is a sign of weakness, an indication that we weren’t able to obtain it on our own or after looking for something for a while and not being able to find it, we throw our hands up, exasperated and ready to move on.  We fear knocking on a door because the moments between the knock and the answer are filled with vulnerability and the fear of rejection.  What if we decided that those moments would be pregnant with promise and potential instead?  What if we were certain that not only would be welcomed inside, but we would be fed?  What if we knew, without doubt, that we would find what we were searching for, and had no hesitation in asking for a little help along the way?  What if we stretched out our hands, palms up, rather than throwing them up in the air?  How large of a leap would that be?

Dear Lord,

Let us learn to live with the quiet confidence of a child, and the ferocious fearlessness of innocence.  Let our powers of discernment help us along the path, and not be used as roadblocks on the journey.  Let our minds rest easy in the knowledge that You will open doors, feed us, and fill our palms.

Matthew 7: 7-12

‘Ask, and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for bread, will give a stone? Or if the child asks for a fish, will give a snake? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask him!

‘In everything do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law and the prophets.