“… Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” Mark 10:14-15 (NIV)
“I’m hugging God,” my daughter said with a smile. “He’s hugging me, too, I think.”
She wrapped her arms around her tiny frame and snuggled in her bed. Her face was the perfect picture of contentment.
I knelt beside her and said a bedtime prayer, amazed at her childlike faith. “He is hugging you,” I said as I walked toward the door. And I believed it. But even as I said it, I longed to feel His presence like my 5-year-old did.
For months, I’d felt like I was walking through a never-ending spiritual fog. My tried-and-true ways of connecting with God weren’t working, and my faith felt tired and routine. When I opened my Bible, I didn’t feel the same fervor I once had.
This wasn’t the first time I’d gone through a season like this, but this one hit me with a new intensity. Doubt in my ability to hear God turned into discouragement, and I wondered what I was doing wrong.
As I reflected on my daughter’s statement, I realized something. She knew she didn’t have to do anything extraordinary to feel God’s embrace. Instead, she curled up and enjoyed it.
Sometimes I fall into a pattern of thinking I need to have everything completed on an invisible checklist to attain connection with God. But God wants me to enjoy Him like a kid lost in her daddy’s embrace. In the same way I relish sunshine on my face on a winter day, He wants me to know His warmth isn’t dependent on anything I do or don’t do.
In Mark 10, we see people were bringing their children to Jesus for Him to put His hands on them and bless them. When His disciples rebuked the parents, Jesus admonished, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it” (Mark 10:14-15).
As I studied these verses, one word stood out to me: “receive.” Jesus reminds us that the Kingdom of God is a gift we receive, not something we strive to attain by completing items on a checklist. When we declare our faith with our mouths and accept Jesus as Lord, we are given a place in His Kingdom forever.
In the weeks after the bedtime prayer with my daughter, I added this to my morning prayer: God, help me live in the joy of Your presence. I continued to pray throughout the day and on my evening walks, and I added this simple request.
While there wasn’t a sudden shift or a light-bulb moment, with time, I noticed God's presence in everyday moments I had often overlooked before. The birds making a nest right outside our kitchen window. The way the morning sun lit up the dew on our lawn like glitter. Instead of approaching my time with God like a chore, I allowed myself to be still.
Although dry seasons still come, God used this time of my life to awaken the childlike wonder in me. He showed me how a simple, heartfelt prayer can shift my perspective, and it’s one I continue to pray today.
God, thank You for the gift of uncomplicated faith. Thank You for the ability to come to You without a list of to-dos and to be still in Your presence. When we stumble through spiritual fog or lose our wonder, renew our childlike amazement in You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
OUR FAVORITE THINGS
Opportunities to see God’s goodness are all around us. We just have to take the time to notice them. At Proverbs 31 Ministries, we want to help you see the ways God is moving in your life today. When you donate, you are helping us continue to offer biblical resources you need — like free, encouraging devotions sent straight to your email inbox. Will you help us continue to provide those free resources to you and other women like you by donating today? Give now!
Abby McDonald’s book Shift: Changing Our Focus to See the Presence of God offers more insights about how a simple shift in perspective can allow the power of God to reign in our lives. Pick up your copy here!
Are there areas of your life where you can’t seem to find breakthrough? Visit Abby’s website to take the “5 Days to Life Unstuck” Challenge. You can also connect with Abby on Instagram.
FOR DEEPER STUDY
Ephesians 2:17-18, “And He came and preached peace to you who were far away, and peace to those who were near; for through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father” (NASB).
When was the last time you just sat and enjoyed God’s presence? How did this simple practice change your perspective? We'd love to hear from you in the comments!
© 2023 by Abby McDonald. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
P.O. Box 3189
Matthews, NC 28106