When JR was around a year old, he started doing this thing when he needed help. It was sort of a whine, sort of a goat-ish whinny.
Eeeeehhhh. Eh. Ehhhhhhhhhh!
As you can imagine, hearing that on repeat day in and day out gets to a person. So in order to preserve my sanity, I offered him an alternative that was a little more verbal, a little less guttural.
“Help, Mama,” I suggested. “Say ‘Help, Mama,’ and I will.”
We practiced it–me showing him how to shape the sounds in his mouth, him pushing out his interpretation of them: “Hep-ama.”
As time went on, he eventually mashed those sounds together, and they became “Hama.” And because much of a mother’s (or parent’s) role in a child’s early years is to provide help, I soon became “Hama” to him. When he needed help, I answered. To him I was no longer Mama; I was Hama.
For the last several years I’ve participated in a weekly Women’s bible study at our church. We’re studying Mark this semester, and today we looked at Chapter 10. Jesus teaches about quite a few things in this chapter, but we spent a good chunk of our time talking about three short verses:
“And they were bringing children to him that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, ‘Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.’ And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them.”
Most of the women who attend this study are mothers to young children, so it was easy for us to imagine how children receive things: relentlessly and joyfully, without pretense or hesitation, and with unfiltered expectation and acceptance.
That’s how Jesus wants us–all of us–to receive Him. That’s how he wants us to come to Him.
What if I could approach Him in the messy, grabby, stoked way a child pursues what he or she wants? What if I accepted His grace in that way? What if I believed–like really, deep-down-in-my-gut-believe–in what Jesus says about the Holy Spirit in John 14?
Oh the have that kind of faith. A faith that changes His name to Help, Jesus.