Recently a preacher told this story. A young family celebrated the birth of a son. Shortly after the baby boy came home from the hospital, his three year old sister made an unusual request. She asked to be left alone with her new little brother in his bedroom with the door closed. The parents were curious. What could their daughter have in mind? Anyway, they granted her request with the intent to monitor the baby’s room using the intercom. The sister retired to her brother’s room, and the parents scurried off to hear what was happening. Footsteps sounded as the little girl approached the crib. Then the parents were astonished to hear these words- “Baby brother, tell me about God. I have almost forgotten.”
I was struck by two powerful aspects of this amazing anecdote. First, I do wonder, if maybe as a small child, we don’t have our best picture of God. After all, we are all God’s offspring as Paul stated on Mars Hill; and Jesus likened the Kingdom dwellers to little children. Why wouldn’t a small child intuitively understand what we adults have lost?
Secondly, I lament the idea that one as young as three years old could already be losing her grip on God’s true nature after being exposed to the misrepresentations of this world. She cannot seek clarification from even her parents. She knows better. It is a marvelous and compelling story.
The “smarter” and more grounded in the adult theology of the past we get, the further we often move from true understanding. Knowing God is a matter of recognizing His true essence and our true identity. The word, “recognize”, shares a root with the word, “cognition”- the act or process of knowing. When we recognize (re-know) something, in a sense, we come to know it again. In the process of living, we tend to lose our former understanding. Perhaps we need a little child to lead us back to a previous wisdom.