Focus Article – Would You Reject a Toddler’s Flower? (Sabbath Recorder, October 2016)

sroctI was struck by something on the roadway as I was driving back from dropping off my wife, Beth, so she could participate as a project director at Summer Christian Service Corp training this past June. I was not hit by a deer, though I saw many, nor a car, nor even a bird. I was struck with an analogy. Though not as traumatic as a vehicular collision, it was still rather impactful and I thought it should be shared.

I had been preaching quite a bit lately about relationships, because as His followers we join God on His mission to reconcile relationships between men and Himself. Since we fell out in The Garden, God has been carrying forth His plans to reconnect us. Thinking about that, I began to consider what it looks like for people of various stations to try to initiate and build relationships.

I thought, “What does it look like when a toddler is pursuing relationship?” There is not much he can do with his limited resources or faculties. He might try and draw a picture with crayons as a present or give a hug to his dad. He might give a kiss or pick a flower for his mom. Because of his natural limits, these acts would be precious in expressing his desire for relationship with those he cares about.

Then I thought about that toddler’s dad when he was in college. Once that future dad meets that future mom, he too is likely to do things to let her know he is interested in building relationship. You might call it wooing. He might paint her a picture or buy her a bouquet of flowers. He might take her to see a garden if she is interested. A young college student may have limited resources to show his desire, but he would be likely to engage her with efforts a bit beyond that of a toddler if he expected her to take him seriously.

Likewise, a titan of industry with millions of dollars and influence in the world may buy the one he is wooing a bouquet, but he would be more likely than our other examples to slip in a diamond necklace. And the walk in the gardens might be on a tropical island that he purchased just for her enjoyment with waterfalls and a private beach. Why? Because that expresses his desire for relationship based on his greater resources.

And then I thought, “What if the one pursuing the relationship was GOD? Would the garden He creates be the size of a planet? Would He fill it with all manner of fauna and flora? Would He make the sky an ever-changing expanse of colors and mystery?” Clearly, He did.

Our God is pursuing us. He is trying to win our hearts with the beauty of His creation and He wants us to love Him for our own good, so we will trust Him and be safe with Him for time beyond time. Look out your window. God is wooing you. Like the toddler holding forth the flower, God holds out an abundant, eternal life with Him. Take it! …and share it with others.

~ Clinton R. Brown,  Executive Director (SDB Missionary Society)