How do you feel about being called a baby?
Some might take it as an insult. We might rather receive it as an invitation to total trust in God. Infants are receiving machines - they do not feed, clothe or even move themselves. The only thing they can “do” is ask for help by using their voices – and reward their helpers with big smiles, which they quickly learn will get them far. If it were true that “God helps those who help themselves,” a deeply destructive maxim which is nowhere to be found in Christian scripture, none of us would see our second birthdays.
The most challenging part of faith-life for many is having to depend upon the grace and mercy and power of God for what matters most in the long-term. Learning to receive God’s goodness and not worry so much about repaying – for we cannot – is a mark of maturity in faith.
Infants are clear about their needs and quick to ask. They are fully in relationship with their care-givers. We can learn from them to go first to God when we need something instead of making it our last resort. And, as with those babies who reward us with gurgles and smiles, our praise can become immediate when we’ve received a gift.
Of course, infants are anything but simple. In their tiny minds and bodies are contained all the systems and equipment that adults have, just waiting to mature. I believe that, whether we are young or mature in faith, we too have everything we need to live a God-reliant, praise-filled life – it is all given to us by the Holy Spirit in baptism, maybe even in birth, waiting to be developed.
What are some attributes of infants that you would like to borrow and try on as you approach God?
What are the things you cannot do for yourself that you are afraid to trust God with? Or eager to?
Today in prayer we might try an imagination exercise – imagine yourself as an infant being held or watched over by Jesus… how does he interact with you in that prayer space? Does he say anything? Do you? What do you feel?
Infants have a huge learning curve, because they have everything about life to learn. As Christ followers, we are in a similar position – we have everything about Life to learn. Let’s open our spiritual senses and breathe it in.