But when the chief priests and the teachers of the law saw the wonderful things he did and the children shouting in the temple area, “Hosanna to the Son of David,” they were indignant. “Do you hear what these children are saying?” they asked him. “Yes,” replied Jesus, “have you never read, ‘From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise’?” Matthew 21:15-16
Last week, many churches celebrated Palm Sunday and Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. The events leading up to his crucifixion led me to this scripture and caused me to ruminate. My mind flashed back to the Schoolhouse Rock segment, “Elementary, my dear!” which recounted the story of Noah and the Ark and used the collection of the animals to illustrate the principle of multiplying by two. It also brought to mind Robert Fulghum’s book, All I really need to know I learned in kindergarten, that featured a list of lessons learned on how to treat others and take care of yourself in this wide world. Both brought home to me something I had to have known since my childhood, but only became aware of at that moment. And I knew a peace from my present day catastrophe which seemingly loomed on my horizon. AGAIN. There’s always one there, you know. In her Saturday Night Live skit, Gilda Radner (ala Rosanna Rosannadana) used to say, “It just goes to show ya – if it ain’t one thing, it’s another!” So there’s ALWAYS another something, just waiting in the shadows, looking for the opportune moment to pounce. It tends to catch you when your guard is down; an unlooked for event and a scheme of the enemy to take your eyes off God and cast them toward your concerns regarding your future. It is true, the lion never sleeps.
But looking back, I realized everything I ever needed to know about God and how to survive these trying times came from my earliest remembrances of Him – in songs learned in Sunday school and verses memorized for church at Easter. “I don’t know why Jesus loves me,” taught me that He does love me and I don’t have to be worthy. (Thank God, because I could never earn His love. I’ve given up on perfection and have decided to be merely human.) And in “Jesus loves the little children,” I learned that He treasures “All the children of the world. Red and yellow, black and white, we are precious in His sight!” That song showed me that I had a special place in His eyes, regardless to how society viewed me. But the one that brought true deliverance was found in the simple lyrics of “Yes, Jesus loves me!’
This song blessed me so much the other day. Coming off of my latest meltdown (see article, The Greatest) I realized that I had fallen for the greatest trick of the enemy – to believe in one’s own strength and power to deliver. You may ask how I could forget such a lesson, for control is only an illusion. All power belongs to God. He alone is in control of my life. I do some of my best work, lol, and He is able to accomplish much through me, when I am a yielded vessel. I become His arms and legs and mouth to do whatever and to go wherever and to bless others. But at times, sigh, I fall prey to this mentality, this thinking that I have to save my world yet again – likely because I’ve watched TOO MANY Buffy the Vampire Slayer episodes (she saved the world, A LOT)! I began to feel that it was all up to me, that the burden of my own personal universe was on my shoulders. I’d somehow allowed the thought to bleed into my conscious that I’m doing this alone.
Meltdowns, in my experience, happen because you look at your own resources and realize you have fallen short of what is needed to accomplish your goals. You feel overwhelmed, like whatever you’re trying to do or get is not gonna happen EVER. You get discouraged and want to give up because, instead of looking at what God is able to accomplish (with/without you or your resources and whether or not you deserve it), you look at yourself and your puny mortal limitations. I was reminded recently that God is ABLE to do what He said he would do and to do the unthinkable. He can bless in ways that we cannot fathom.
So I want to leave you today with the words that encouraged me, brought me out of my funk and gave me hope:
Jesus loves me, this I know
For the Bible tells me so
Little ones (that’s US, y’all!) to Him belong
THEY ARE WEAK BUT HE IS STRONG!
Yes, it is because He is strong that I can afford the luxury of being “weak.” Sometimes, I feel like I always have to appear hard and strong, like I can handle whatever obstacle comes my way because I come from a long line of women who were made of stern stuff! Whew! And that pull yourself up by your bootstraps mentality seemed to serve me well in the past. But I am learning, or rather re-learning, as this lesson has been with me since my childhood, to lean on Him and to let God bear these heavy loads that weigh me down. With every burden I cast off I am returning to my former self and becoming more carefree, for I have given my cares to Him. I am feeling more like me. So much so, that today I visualized myself yelling at my latest obstacle (in my Gerard Butler/Leonidas of 300 voice), “I. AM. LORIAAAAA!” ROAR! That thought makes me smile because I am back. And I am becoming a better me, but not due to being indomitable or indestructible. It is because He has shown me, once again, the beauty of giving it all over to Him. I can rest easier knowing that He is, as my brother once put it, the One who holds all of my tomorrows.