“Lord, please talk to me,” I often pray. “Help me to hear Your voice. Don’t let me miss Your little whispers.”
And He’s always faithful, opening my ear and attuning my mind to the myriad messages He sends my way, sometimes from unexpected sources.
Just the other day, in fact, the Lord spoke to me through Gracie, my two-year old niece as we strolled through the back yard.
“Uncle Bonnie,” she said, [she still hasn’t grasped the concept of “Aunt” but for now, I much prefer “Uncle”] “I just love this forest.”
Her mom Stephanie and I chuckled at the tyke’s use of the word forest in reference to my moderately wooded one-acre lot, and we marveled at the fact that she was already acquainted with the term at such a young age. It might have ended there. A cute little incident on a sunny afternoon in May, but days later, Gracie’s words were still in my mind.
“Uncle Bonnie, I just love this forest.”
Jesus told us, “Unless you become as a little child, you cannot enter the kingdom of heaven,” and Scripture attests that out of the mouths of babes wisdom flows. Long after Gracie’s pronouncement, I was hanging onto her words, struggling to grasp something true and eternal at the heart of what seemed, on the surface, just a childish observation.
Then, it hit me. From my standpoint as an adult, with all my years of acquired knowledge and prior training, that afternoon experience was just a walk in the back yard, but to Gracie, it was an exciting adventure in a lovely forest. And, come to think of it, her perception was actually closer to the truth than mine was! Her sensitive little fingers had detected the pulse of life all around us while my older, calloused ones had lost touch with that delicate heartbeat underlying the surface of all creation. Gracie’s eyes had marveled at the beauty of the soft green mosses carpeting the ground beneath the umbrage of the towering hickory trees. Her ears had picked out the notes of the bullfrog croaking in the neighbor’s pond. Her hands had discovered the intricacies of an iris seedpod, loaded with the mysteries that would produce next year’s blossoms.
God had done it again . . . answered my prayer, “Speak to me,” . . . this time in the person of Gracie.
“Uncle Bonnie,” He was saying good-humoredly, “I want you to see the world as Gracie does. It really is a forest teeming with hidden life and waiting to be loved. No matter who or what you encounter, it’s never just a yard or just a tree or just a familiar face or just a nameless person on a street corner. Too many adults view things like this—matter-of-factly, mechanically. Learn a lesson from Gracie. Be in awe at the wonder and the mystery of life, and fall in love with it at each new moment. Pray that the scales of insensitivity and ingratitude that develop with age and routine will fall away and that you, too, will proclaim with Gracie, “I just love this forest!”
I learned a valuable lesson one day from a little girl; sometimes children can be very wise.