Ever since I’ve had kids old enough to wail in grocery store checkout lines I’ve been perplexed by the scriptural admonition to be childlike. The more the scriptures expound the subject the greater the disconnect between my own experiences and the ideal.
Mosiah 3:19 says that we must become “as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.” I’m a decent father, but my kids probably rate a 20% on the Mosiah scale most of the time. To be childlike really means Christlike, and the admonition to be childlike is a commandment to emulate The Perfect Son. But that’s not always clear from the context of some verses that seem to really be talking about children.
Then yesterday my sweet, precious Nora, almost 2, came running to my arms after taking a tumble outside. She buried her face in my shoulder and wept bitterly for several minutes. You would have thought her entire world had fractured and the only thing that could fix it was the gentle embrace of a loving parent. Then it hit me. In that moment she was perfectly childlike. Submissive. Meek. Humble. Patient. Full of Love.
It’s comforting to know that we too can be childlike when we fall, when the sting of sin harrows up our souls and it feels like all is lost, when we are weary and can’t move forward another inch or another day on our own strength, and the only thing that can make it better is to be encircled about in the arms of the Father of Our Salvation.