Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God.Mark 10:14 ESV
I have become a collector of hearts, but I don’t collect just any hearts. They’re gifts from my daughter, Danielle.
One is a heart-shaped rock she found in the garden. She skipped to me, squealing. We washed it under the hose, and she cradled it. Then she gave me her little treasure and ran off to play, periodically checking to make sure I was cradling the rock-heart to her satisfaction.
Another is of twisted wire, fashioned as a pendant for me to wear. Yet another is a two-colored foil heart. Another is made from clay.
I look at these hearts often, remembering my daughter will forever be in my heart as I am in hers.
What do Danielle’s hearts have to do with dancing shoes? Let’s enter the world of make-believe and simple truths…
Pretend you’re a little girl, age four-and-a-half. Yes, “and-a-half” is important when you’re that age. You’re learning to love Jesus. You love to bounce on couches, run, and play drums with pots. Your locks are shoulder-length, and golden with hints of red. You’re taking dancing classes. You learn to pirouette, point your toes and twirl… The teacher you’re learning from loves Jesus.
Then it happens…
You’re in church with Daddy, Mommy, and your little brother. A holy hush comes upon the congregation. There’s a stirring as spontaneous worship begins.
A gentleman starts singing in the balcony. A lady in the choir joins in. Someone in the nave begins to sing. The congregation joins in. Soon, the worship becomes exuberant! You tug at Momma’s hem.
“Mommy, Jesus is here. Can I dance?”
With permission granted, you run the aisles, twirling in exuberant worship. Your dance is the perfect picture of Mark 10:14b ESV: “Let the children come to me … for to such belongs the kingdom of God.”
To your parents’ delight, you worship as only a child can fully do. The joy you display comes from a heart of gratitude to Jesus. You make Momma and Daddy proud that day, and we smile really big. All day.
The next morning, you point to the heart-cross pendant your mom has worn all your life, “I wanna wear a cross with a heart like you.”
“Sweetheart,” I say, “when you know what it means to be saved, Mommy promises you, she’ll get you a heart-cross pendant.”
“It’s just that… well, sweetie, you’re four.”
“Your birthday is soon. We’ll celebrate it.”
“I wanna wear a heart. With a cross.” You cross your arms and swing a foot.
“When you understand, I’ll…”
“I do understand.”
“How about you tell Mommy what you believe about Jesus.”
“Jesus died on the cross, and He’s alive. He’s up there.” You point upwards.
“And He loves me this much!” You spread your hands as wide as you can. “And when I put my dancing shoes on, I can feel Him right heeeeeer…..” You point to your heart and twirl.
“I will get you a heart with a cross.” I say, “because I guess you do understand.”
I’d love to say I got that first heart-cross pendant, but I did not. You see, Danielle’s dance teacher talked to me that next Sunday, sharing how much my four-and-a-half-year-old girl was into worship. She was impressed not by the perfection of my child’s moves, but by the spirit in which she performed them.
The dance teacher asked permission to give Danielle a gift. I agreed. She handed her a tiny box. Inside, was a pendant—a cross within a sparkly heart. Danielle jumped for joy! But I cried, knowing the Lord Himself had confirmed to me my deepest hope—that she really did know what it meant to be saved.
The Bible says, “For with the heart man believeth” (Romans 10:10a KJV). May I add, sometimes the inner heart puts on dancing shoes. And sometimes the one who believes is a little girl, age four-and-a-half, who knows without reservation that John 3:16 is real.
Have you thanked God lately for the gift of salvation?
Heavenly Father, thank You for my salvation, a profound but simple truth even a little child can understand. Help me to share the Gospel message without reservation, with everyone You place in my sphere of influence.
In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Genre: Creative Non-fiction