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Posts Tagged ‘Imaginarium’

IMG_20181121_121203912Recently, I found myself wondering whether our four-year-old granddaughter truly is only four and not a hundred and four! There we were, sitting on the floor, trying to set up some wooden train tracks together. I could see on the box that those train tracks were meant to link up in a certain way, forming three intertwining loops, yet I could not seem to make them do what they were supposed to do.

‘Oh dear!’ I told Maxine at last. ‘I think I’ve made a big mistake somewhere. These tracks aren’t going to connect up at all.’

Thankfully, Maxine did not show any disappointment or frustration.

Don’t worry, Nanna!’ she said in a lovely, compassionate tone. ‘Everyone makes mistakes. Everyone!Even I made a mistake once!’

I tried not to laugh or even smile—I knew she would be highly embarrassed and offended if I did. Besides, she had meant it so kindly. And there was so much wisdom in the first part at least of what she had said. As for her last sentence—well, even it was meant to be kind and generous! At that point, I let her know I appreciated her words. And I realised too how weirdly comforting they had been, because I was feeling a little silly that I could not put a simple train track together.

Eventually, I found some instructions in the box and, after my husband and Maxine disappeared to the playground, I managed to work them out. What a sense of accomplishment I felt, as that train track came together!

Maxine’s gracious response, however, led me to reflect on the many other much more serious mistakes I have made in my life, some more accidental than others. Sometimes I have said or done things out of ignorance, thinking I was right and even, in fact, acting in a godly manner. On those occasions, God has known my heart, seen my sorrow and graciously picked me up, strengthening me to do better. Yet on other occasions, to my regret, I have deliberately chosen a wrong course of action, knowing full well I am making a huge mistake—sinning, in fact. Many times, I have said that hasty, angry word or judged someone harshly or refused to listen to God and do some kind act or speak those life-giving words to someone. Yet each time, God has still reached out to me, shown me my wilful mistakes and in kindness led me to repentance, setting my feet on solid ground once again (Romans 2:4). What a loving, patient God we have!

The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. He will not always accuse, nor will he harbour his anger forever; he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him: as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. Psalm 103:8-12

Yes, Maxine is bound to make more than that one mistake in her life, but I hope and pray she will always know her loving, compassionate Lord is with her to comfort her and enable her to move on in his strength.

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Jo 12I was glad no one else could see me. There I was in my kitchen, kneading my latest batch of play dough into a lovely, squishy ball. I had coloured it bright blue for our grandson and knew I should put it in a container to keep it from drying out. But it was okay to play with it for a while … wasn’t it?

Later, I went to my study, where I had stored some toys our older granddaughters had bequeathed us for their younger cousins to play with. Now I decided these toys needed very slow and careful sorting … well, didn’t they? Oh, look—here was a whole playground to assemble, with ‘Little People’ who fitted in cars and on swings and little tricycles! And here in a box was something called an ‘Imaginarium’—a miniature wooden village, with train tracks leading here and there and a little pink train with carriages that joined together via magnets and some tiny cars and some people and trees and … And there was ‘Mr Potato Head’, with eyes and noses and arms and legs to attach!

Hmm.

I had such fun. I ignored all those other tasks awaiting my attention and allowed myself to enjoy the moment. No grandchildren to interrupt my play and want whatever it was I had. No grown-up children around to laugh and shake their heads at their mother. Not even any other adults in sight to wonder—and perhaps be a little jealous?

Was it a waste of time? Definitely not. Because, in the midst of my play, an answer Jesus once gave in response to a question about who would be greatest in the kingdom of heaven came to mind.

I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 18:3

I have been a Christian a long time. Yet I am still called to have that childlike faith that simply believes and trusts and enjoys the company of my heavenly Father. I need to recognise his voice and listen to what he says. I need to talk with him and laugh and cry with him—perhaps even play with him a little? Maybe then, I will become more like him.

This week, I read again the story of Zacchaeus in Luke 19. Zacchaeus was a wealthy, important, grown man. Yet he was so eager to check out Jesus that he did something quite childish and climbed a tree to get a better view. Imagine how he felt when Jesus stopped right under where he was, called him by name and informed him he needed to come to his place! At once, we are told, Zacchaeus, in full view of everyone, came down from that tree and welcomed Jesus gladly. And the result?

Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man too is a son of Abraham.” Luke 19:9

I might be past climbing trees these days. But I hope I will always be that child at heart who will do anything to see Jesus more clearly and continue to trust him in childlike faith.

How about you?

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