For Children Only

by Rich Mullins

Release Magazine January/February 1995



The woman on the television had that smug-uppity look on her face and that grimly condescending tone in her voice when she looked dead on into the camera and at point blank range announced with ridiculous earnest something that was hysterically, ironically true:
"Miracles are for children," she said with her educated, wilted monotone - a delivery you might call deadpan if she was trying to be funny. The funny thing is, she was not.

But she was right - miracles are for children. And the truth that popped out from between those lips that sophistication had soured, seemed to stop short of the heart of its intended target, look back in wonder, and scratch its head at the unflattering set of jaws whose bite it had accidentally escaped. That truth could have been no sweeter or more true if it had been spoken by Christ Himself.

And Christ Himself did say much the same in so many words, especially if we take the idea of miracle at its most exact sense: "the suspension of the laws of nature by divine intervention." Christ preached what He Himself called the "Good News" of the kingdom of God - a kingdom full of miracles. He Himself said that in this Kingdom the poor would know comfort - and even the most debauched hedonists among us know that if comfort is found by anyone, it is a miracle. In this kingdom of miraculous comfort, Christ said that the meek would inherit the earth (quite contrary to the law of survival of the fittest), the hungry would be satisfied (not a popular notion in a consumerist society), the pure would have vision (a threat to a world that thrives on sensationalism) and the peacemakers (not the most heavily armed aggressors) would be esteemed.

The TV lady and Jesus were in complete agreement about miracles being for children. But then the TV woman said that grown-up people, grown up societies, do not need miracles. She said that the grown-up meanings that Jesus meant did not need the theatrical trappings that He dressed them in - those circus costume miracles (those funny, childish gags like the calming of storms, the cleansing of lepers, the raising from the dead). She said we did not need miracles to find Christ or to be part of His kingdom.

Therein is the rub. Christ said that His kingdom - the world where He Himself reigns - is for children. He Himself said that if we don't need a miracle we will most likely have little interest in Him. If we are able to get along joyfully in the grown-up world of supply, demand, survival, aggression, sensations and consumerism, then we'd probably have too low to stoop and too much trimming to do to slip through that needle's eye gateway to Him. If we aren't sick, we don't need a doctor. If we aren't lost, we don't need a leader.

But, if we can admit a need, if we aren't as altogether as we sometimes secretly fear we're not, if we can shed our thick-skinned self-reliance and peel off that thin veneer of satisfaction - then there is a place for us in His kingdom and a fairly fat chance that we can loosen our load and slip on through. If we can find that courage... or that honesty... if we can be needy, helpless, blessed as a child...

O Lord, this is me calling - an adult in an adult world, needing to be a child again in a kingdom for children. O Lord - can you make me that? It will take a miracle.




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