To Be Childlike
This past weekend, a few of the Crossroads team members were treated to a home-cooked meal by the daughter of our host family in Sioux Falls and her husband. The dinner was brief because we were on the clock to meet part of the group which had gone ahead to the campground two hours away. Regardless of the time limitations, the dinner had a lasting personal impact for me.
The trip to our benefactors’ house was a bit of an adventure because it was my first time driving the RV and there were massive amounts of construction going on around her neighborhood. It took me three attempts to get into the neighborhood because I kept missing the barely-marked turn into their subdivision. But once we finally reached their house, everyone in both the RV and the house breathed a sigh of relief.
Once we entered the house, their young daughter Rebakah came to everyone and took everyone’s drink orders on a small clipboard. I saw her cheerfully help her parents with the few remaining tasks before dinner. Once everything was set and prepared, she ran over to the table and took a seat next to me.
Throughout the dinner, I spoke with Rebakah and I noticed that, while she was utterly cheerful and polite, she had a voice like gravel. My initial thought was that she had just woken up and her voice was naturally a little rough. However, I was wrong. About ten minutes into the dinner, I heard her mother mention that Rebakah had trouble swallowing properly and had only recently started eating without the use of a stomach tube. A few minutes later, the father came to Rebakah and broke the wishbone with her. Rebakah got the bigger piece, and so she got to make the wish. She wished for a safe trip for all the Crossroads team members. And although the sweetness and kindness of her wish touched me, her father’s words struck me more. He wished that they could “get rid of all of her bad cells”.
Rebakah has a rare genetic disease which renders her immune system practically non-existent. She had a bone marrow transplant scheduled in the near future to treat it and give her some immunities. However, you wouldn’t know it if you met her. This small child just radiates joy and generosity when she could just as easily be fussy and discontent. I don’t know many adults who would handle such a cross with such an attitude. Many would become bitter and selfish; Rebakah is joyful and self-giving.
Christ said that those who are like children will enter the “Kingdom of God”, and I believe that this could be what He meant. Rebakah, a seven-year old child, bears her hardships with laughter; she bears her suffering with a smile. If only we all could respond to our hardships with her attitude, the world would be that much closer to Heaven. We would be willing to help others, even though we are ourselves were experiencing hardships. We would help bring light to others’ lives, even if our days were black as night.
God bless you and keep you, and may His Perpetual Light shine upon you.
Nate “Babe” Turner
Northern Walk ‘13