The Warrior is a Child

This is the third of three articles authored by ‘UnderTheRadar’ over at Revival School.

It seems to me that there are two opposite ways of misunderstanding Gods’ heart for us; on one side there is the fat arrogance of the prosperity gospel and the Me-centred pseudochristianity, but on the other the dry evisceration of the ascetic who does not understand Gods’ generous and loving heart. He is Life, and Life in all of its fullness and richness. This story speaks of this Life.

One eagerly anticipated afternoon, a wide-eyed little girl crouched on the floor, struggling with her shoes. She was the image of a baby doll, adorned in ruffles and lace. Her hair fell softly to her shoulders and framed her rosy cherub cheeks. She was no more than eight or nine and was attempting to give her new patent leather shoes a spit shine. Suddenly she began to giggle, catching a glimpse of herself in the reflection from her shoes. Quietly, her Father approached her, not wanting to interrupt this cherished moment. Even when she couldn’t see His face or hear His footsteps, somehow, she always knew when her Father was near. Slightly embarrassed, she brushed the hair from her face and stood erect. “I’m ready now!” she shyly remarked. Inwardly she chided herself, because she had not been ready on time. After all, she had carelessly wasted those few moments with her own amusement. “I love you so very much!” her Daddy beamed.

Bounding down the steps to their car, she clasped her Father’s hand. There was such comfort to be found in every line and every curve of His palm. If she had to, she could distinguish her Father’s hands from all others, even in the dark. Before He climbed into the vehicle, He grabbed the mail from the mailbox. Her report card was in the stack. Upon His opening the envelope, she peeked over His shoulder and spotted four A’s and one C. Cowering now, she slumped into her seat. If she could only hide, she thought. “Have I remembered to tell you how precious you are to me?” her Father said, as the car pulled away from the driveway.

Exceeding all her expectations, the incredible sight of circus tents and arcades came into view. Her heart pounded within her. “Just Daddy and me.”, she mused to herself. He had promised her a day that she would never forget. As her feet touched the pavement, there was a familiar aroma in the air; although she couldn’t quite place it. Drawing closer to the scent, she saw the cotton candy machine, whirling and spinning to the rhythm of her heartbeat. Secretly, she treasured cotton candy, as if it were spun gold. Her mouth watered with anticipation. “But, my fingers will become too sticky to hold Daddy’s hand.” she thought to herself. So, desiring to please only her Daddy, she turned and walked away.

Upon diverting her gaze, she noticed a young boy, leaning against the confection stand. His face was drenched in perspiration and she could sense the burning in the muscles of his forearms, since he had hobbled all day long on aluminum crutches. Staring directly into his eyes, she began to cry. “Oh, Daddy, Daddy.” she sobbed, “We have so much. Could we please help this little boy?” Smiling broadly, He nodded. Possessing great wealth, the Father sought out the child’s parents and gave generously to them. So much so, that they were able to afford an electric wheelchair. Gently, caressing His daughter’s face, He said, “How very much I adore you!”

The intimacy of this moment was interrupted by a melody of coins, dancing on glass. The sound was coming from a game of chance being played at the booth next to her. The sun glistened against slick glass plates, as coins bounced and spun and slid from her view. She was fascinated by the whole event and fixed her eyes on the prize, the huge cuddly bunny, which hung auspiciously above her. “How lovely that bunny would be in the corner of my room!” she thought. Yet, she would never consider frivolously spending her Father’s money in this way. Surely, His money could be put to better use.

All at once, the sun bounced rudely off a wall of mirrors, blinding her sight momentarily. Rubbing her eyes, she spied a little girl, who was a few years older than she. She was sobbing, staring in the mirror at a scar that had marred the beauty of her face. The daughter pleaded, “Father, I saw such lovely bonnets over near the roller coaster. If that little girl could have a new hat, she might forget her sadness.” Kissing her on the cheek, He remarked, “You are my beloved child!”

As the harsh afternoon sun yielded to dusk, the lights of the Ferris wheel began to twinkle against the deepening hue of the skyline. The thought of dangling fearlessly atop this mesmerizing contraption took her breath away. Children’s screams, like icy fingertips, waltzed up her spine. Tears welled up in her eyes, as she became enthralled by its speed and grace.

Abruptly, she came to her senses, “Daddy wants to leave before dark!” she remembered. Immediately, she ran to His side not wanting to waste one precious second with her tardiness. Without warning, something brushed past her in a blur of soft brown fur. A carelessly neglected puppy hesitated just a few feet beyond her and stared knowingly into her compassionate eyes. “Daddy could we give him a home?” she asked, “I promise I will take very good care of him.” With her Daddy’s approval, she scooped the puppy up in a warm embrace and softly cradled him all the way to the car. “You are the apple of My eye!” her Father remarked with a smile.

Caught in the glow of the moment, the daughter never paused to hear her Father’s deafening silence. Neither did she turn to notice the quiet river of tears slipping gently down his cheeks. All day long she tried to be good, desperately needing to please her Father. She even denied herself many small pleasures, in order to achieve this goal. Realizing that the evening was sliding swiftly from her grasp, she reached for the warmth and comfort of His hand. She was stunned to find her Father’s hand trembling like a frightened child’s. Glancing upward, she saw His face and she began to weep. She shrank at the very thought of His displeasure.

His voice, as soft as velvet and as thunderous as a sonic boom, ruptured the night air. Although whispering with tender affection, He spoke with great power and majesty. “I long to gather you, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings.” He cried longingly. “I love you for the smudge on your rosy red cheeks and for your knobby knees and for the warmth of your smile and for the way you skip with a rope and for the manner in which you laugh with your eyes and for the passion in your heart and for so much more than I could ever express in words. I love you, because you are bone of My bone and flesh of My flesh. Every time you look into the mirror, you are faced with the image of Deity, because you are the very heart of My heart. Daughter, you are My beloved child, in whom I am well pleased.” He pleaded passionately with a trembling voice.

Reaching His hands out to her, revealing only His palms, she began to remember why her Father’s hands were so unmistakable. She had forgotten the scars, so painfully evident, now bathed in radiant moonlight. He began speaking with extreme seriousness, “You see My child, because of these wounds, You and I may share cotton candy and a ride on the Ferris wheel and a frivolous moment and a walk in the moonlight and a dance under the stars and a good novel and a nap by the fire and a gentle hug and a quiet kiss. It’s all of these things that I really miss. Come walk with Me, as I once walked so long ago in the garden. Let’s stroll in the morning mist and revel in each other’s company. May we whisper about things that have no great significance, except to make us both laugh aloud. May the joy of the moment supercede the woes of this world for one fleeting instant. Although the world moves on without missing a beat, may our hearts beat in unison to the beat of another rhythm and another drum. And though our hearts are united in the understanding of the importance of My purpose, may time stand still long enough to allow me to peer into your eyes and see them sparkle in the pale moonlight. May I caress your face and kiss your cheek for no other reason, than I surrendered My life for that very privilege. This is My greatest joy and desire; that We may share in the simple pleasures of life, you and I. Expose yourself to a child-like vulnerability and allow Me the honor of guarding, protecting and loving you, as any Father would desire to do. Hear the cry of My heart. wipe the tears from My eyes.”

The Warrior is a Child
By Twila Paris

Lately I’ve been winning battles left and right,
But even winners can get wounded in the fight.
People say that I’m amazing, strong beyond my years;
But they don’t see inside of me; I’m hiding all the tears.

Chorus:

They don’t know that I go running home when I fall down.
They don’t know who picks me up when no one is around.
Drop my sword and cry for just a while,
‘Cause deep inside this armor,
The warrior is a child.

Unafraid, because His armor is the best;
But even soldiers need a quiet place to rest.
People say that I’m amazing, never face retreat;
But they don’t see the enemies that lay me at His feet.

Chorus:

They don’t know that I go running home when I fall down.
They don’t know who picks me up when no one is around.
Drop my sword and, look up for a smile
‘Cause deep inside this armor,
The warrior is a child.

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