The Lord is so patient with us. He is kind and does not want anyone to perish, but all to come to Him. When we are stubborn in our sin natures, He continues to call us to Himself. He pursues us in love and with gentleness.
Having a 1-year-old in the home is one of the greatest delights and challenges. On one hand, he is an innocent, precious little boy. But on the other hand, he is a sinner who already is revealing his sin nature and tendencies.
My husband and I have the privilege of parenting our son, and in the midst of walking through life with him, we are enjoying the many daily lessons about God’s love for us. Do you have a toddler in your home, classroom, or life? Here are five lessons these little ones can teach us about God.
1. God Is Patient with Us
When a determined toddler puts his mind to something, it means that he is likely going to test the waters. I can see the look in my son’s eyes when I open the refrigerator door (one of his favorite places to climb) as he makes a beeline towards it. I now know I am going to slow down and take an exploratory look at the fruits and vegetables in the drawers for the fourth time today.
Or he needs a diaper change and acts as if he is being held against his will, flailing his arms and legs, turning and trying to perform ninja-like maneuvers to get out of the situation. I calmly hold him down and tell him that he needs his diaper changed. There are also the moments when my son wants milk. He sees that milk and he wants it right then and there. I hold him with one arm as I try to quickly screw the lid on to his sippy cup. He drinks the first taste and has instant relief.
I laugh at these moments because I do the same thing to God. “Lord, look at this! Watch me do this.” Or “Why am I going through that uncomfortable growth situation again? Let me out!” Or “I want this right now.” The Lord is so patient with us. He is kind and does not want anyone to perish, but all to come to Him. When we are stubborn in our sin natures, He continues to call us to Himself. He pursues us in love and with gentleness.
“The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).
2. God Calls Us to Child-Like Faith
Jesus places great emphasis on children in the Bible. Something beautiful about children is that when you tell them something as a parent or an adult, they typically believe you and trust you. My son is afraid of the vacuum and when he hears the loud sound or sees it, he looks to me with fear in his eyes and I remind him that it is ok and he is safe. He then slowly grows in his confidence to touch it and realizes that it is not going to hurt him.
God calls us to have the faith of a child. When we think about the innocent and pure faith of a little one, we are reminded that we are invited to have a boldness and confidence that our God is who He says He is, and we are safe in His arms. My toddler has a lot of faith in his sinful daddy and mommy. Even in our lacking, he trusts us. How much more faith can we place in our perfect Father and Savior who is unchanging and never failing? We can completely rest in trusting Him.
“And he said: ‘Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven’” (Matthew 18:3).
3. God Is Merciful
“He’s at it again.” My son crawled into our room trying to pull up on our stand-up mirror. It is unsafe and not stable, so we have had to teach him “no.” He does not like this word. If we are being honest, none of us do. After I told him no and my husband got involved with a more serious no, I continued the laundry on a Saturday afternoon.
He persisted to flee his father, crawled at a record pace and looked with pure intrigue and excitement as he found the room with the beloved mirror. He rushed towards it, and I would stop him just in time before he pulled it over. This happened close to seven times in the span of ten minutes. The part that I could not get over was the look on his face when he got into the room and was nearing his heart’s desire. He gave a big grin and giggled in mischief.
Was I surprised that this was going to happen? No. Could I hear him coming down the hall? Yes. Did I hope he would listen to our words of caution? Yes. Our sins do not surprise God. However, we get the opportunity to receive His mercies that are new each morning. He does not give us what we deserve, and although we too return to our sinful desires like my son returned to that mirror, the Lord still loves us, corrects us, and desires to empower us to follow Him.
“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness" (Lamentations 3:22-23).
4. God Is the Perfect Creator
My child is perfection in my eyes. Yes, I know that he is a little sinner, but God created him fearfully and wonderfully. I love him so much. His little personality, his bright smile, his kind eyes, and bravery. He is such little teddy bear. I think about the intricacies of his tiny hands, every sunset golden hair on his head, and his cheeks that are softer than the world’s best pillow. When I look at this little, innocent, growing life, I cannot help but praise the Lord. God is the Creator who has been intentional with every creation. He does not make mistakes in His designs.
“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well” (Psalm 139:14).
5. God Cares about the Details
As you prepare a toddler to go outside on a winter’s day or just leaving the house in general, there are a lot of things to think through in order to care for this little one. “Does he have a dry diaper?” “Where are his gloves?” “Where did his other sock go?” There are a lot of details and observations that go into caring for a young child. The amount of thought and heart behind nurturing and loving a toddler reminds us that God cares about the details.
If my son cries and is upset because he cannot get the square shape into the square shaped hole, I help him. If I see a milk mustache, I wipe it. If he beams every time we read a specific book, I make sure to pull it out more for him. Being an intentional parent takes time and focus. Love is amazing and as an imperfect parent, I still have a lot of love for my child. Even things that seem mundane or small matter. This reminds us that even our smallest desires, burdens, dreams, and disappointments matter to the Lord. His Spirit is with His children and although He is over everything, He is personal and directly involved in our most monotonous moments. God sees you.
“The LORD directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives” (Psalm 27:23).
These are just a few lessons that toddlers teach us about God. As you observe the little ones around you in your life, ask the question, “What is the Lord teaching me about Himself through this relationship?” Children are a gift and we can learn a lot through our experiences with them.
Photo credit: ©Getty Images/monkeybusinessimages
Emma Danzey’s mission in life stems from Ephesians 3:20-21, to embrace the extraordinary. One of her greatest joys is to journey with the Lord in His Scriptures. She is wife to Drew and mom to Graham. Emma serves alongside her husband in ministry, she focuses most of her time in the home, but loves to provide articles on the Bible, life questions, and Christian lifestyle. Her article on Interracial Marriage was the number 1 on Crosswalk in 2021. Most recently, Emma released Treasures for Tots, (Scripture memory songs) for young children. During her ministry career, Emma has released Wildflower: Blooming Through Singleness, two worship EP albums, founded and led Polished Conference Ministries, and ran the Refined Magazine. You can view her articles on her blog at emmadanzey.wordpress.com and check out her Instagram @Emmadanzey.