July 18, 2011 will always be a special day to me. It was the day I received one of the best gifts I have ever been given.
It started with Eila getting her shoes on so we could meet some friends at the park. I was singing a song to the kids as we got ready to go. You may have heard it as a child…”I’ve go the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart. Where? Down in my heart… Anyway…when I got to the verse “I’ve got the love of Jesus down in my heart”, Eila asked me if she had Jesus in her heart. I said, “No”. Pause. “Would you like to?”
Now, Eila has asked me about having Jesus in her heart before, and whenever I’ve asked her if she wanted to, she always told me no. Which was fine, because it’s her choice and nothing I would ever want to pressure her into. Not when she’s 3, and not when she’s 33. The choice to become a Christian (known by Eila as asking Jesus into her heart) is such a serious, life changing decision, that it has to be made on one’s own. It’s a decision based on the realization that we need a savior, and Jesus is that Savior. It’s the beginning of a relationship, the most incredible, fantastic, amazing relationship there can ever be. If you don’t know Jesus, I know that probably sounds crazy. But I know it to be true.
Eila surprised me. She said “yes”. I sat down beside her and explained again what it means to ask Jesus into your heart. I explained that it means asking Him to be Lord of your life (that He is in charge of your life) and that we are sinners who need Him to save us. Yes, she is familiar with the word “sin” (sometimes all too familiar!) I asked her if she believes Jesus is God’s son and that He died for our sins. Then we prayed together and my little girl became a follower of Christ. I may forget the details of that moment over time, but I’ll never forget the wonderful joy it is for your child to become a Christian. Knowing I have this life and then forever with her is one of the best gifts I could ever be given. Will and I have been praying for that since she was conceived.
Now, I know that there is a lot of debate out there about a child understanding at 3 1/2 what it is to be a Christian. And of course she cannot understand fully. No one, child or adult, fully understands what it is to be a Christ-follower until they accept Christ as their Savior. But I know this. She loves the Lord. Her faith is pure, simple. She wants Him to be part of her life. And she called on His name to be saved. And Romans 10:13 states that “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
So I praise God knowing my little girl is saved. That doesn’t mean she won’t ever question her faith, stray from it, or doubt. We all do that in some way or another. And God loves us through it, despite it, and perhaps even because of it. God wants us to choose Him. He doesn’t want a relationship with us that has to be ordered or coerced; that is not love. And God is love. He shows us every day in the awesomeness that is creation (have you ever really examined a flower or stood soaking in the exquisite beauty of the mountains or ocean?), He shows us in little ways (the encouragement from a friend, a hug from a loved one, miracles like the way our bodies are created or ), and He showed us on the cross.
More amazing than the joy I felt when Eila chose to become a Christian is the knowledge that God feels that same joy, albeit on a perfect, pure level, whenever ANY of us come to Him and accept His son. How incredible is that?! The angels rejoice in heaven when a son or daughter comes home. And God rejoices more than we can imagine possible. I got to experience the smallest taste of that joy this past Monday.
It is one of the best gifts ever.
Jars of Clay- Faith Like a Child