Heart of a Child
I take a break from a rather tedious evening of studying Hebrew to reflect on my feelings of going back to kindergarten. There's nothing that will make you feel like you know *absolutely nothing* quite like learning a new language. I write out the letters of the alphabet 10 times in a row (right to left of course), going as fast as I can, and try to somehow make it under a minute: "Aleph, Bet, Gimmel, Dalet, Hey, Vav, Zayin, Chet, Tet, Yod, Kaf, Lamed, Mem, Nun, Samech, Ayin, Pey, Tsade, Kof, Resh, Shin, Sin, and Tav." Even more humbling are the reading exercises. "Uh....vo...ti, a-vo-ti, uhvoTI, uvoti?" Whatever that means. Not that far yet. And then I come to a word that sounds familiar: "Toh...rah..." I slowly decode. "To-RAH..." (get the accent on that last syllable). "TO-rah! To-rah! Torah!!" (I wonder if that's actually the word for Torah? They don't explain). I'm just so happy that something in these pages sounds like a word I know the meaning of.
Although knowing something of the English language helps in grasping the rudiments of Hebrew, it wouldn't help for me to ask Dr. Phil, "I know my English alphabet...could I write that instead?" These are uncharted waters and in order for me to learn anything in this next year, I have to acknowledge that I know nothing. I'm a little kid again, coming to kindergarten with my lunch box and crayons, ready to leave at noon and catch a nap (no such luck). Trying to insist I know something only gets in the way of the lessons I'm trying to learn. It's okay to stumble some. It's alright to question my pronunciation of the Sheva. It's all a part of kindergarten. After seventeen painful lines of reading, the "Primer" even reassured me , "Do not be disturbed if you are still reading Hebrew words haltingly. In Chapters 1 through 3 it is our intention to simply acquaint you with the letters and pronunciation" (p. 24). What a comfort.
The simple song "Heart of a Child" which I wrote nearly six years ago talks about the attitude we must assume when we come before an all-knowing God. The words were born in an uncertain time in my life when God was trying to teach me the importance of not knowing. Really, He wanted me NOT to know. He even told us in His word, "Except you... become as little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 18:3). Children are trusting and open and forgiving and full of an unhindered faith. They love with an overwhelming capacity. A quote I heard from Francis Chan recently said something like, "The older we get, the safer we play it." I don't want to learn to play it safe. My prayer is that I'll never leave the little room with the green carpet and alphabet cards along the walls when it comes to my trust in His will, my faith in His promises, and my love for others.
If you don't have my album Treasures of Darkness, you can listen to the song here.
"Heart of a Child"
1) We’re taught to trust you asking no questions
And sometimes it isn’t hard
When we know where the journey is ending
And we know where the journey’s to start
But when darkness falls
Doubts begin to flood our soul
We don’t like the path you’ve chosen
We long to take control
Ch) Give us the trust of a child
‘Till when you hurt us
We’ll trust that you know best
Give us the faith of a child
‘Till on your promises
We can rest
Give us the love of a child
‘Till we keep on lovin’
When our love’s put to the test
Father, give us the heart,
Give us the heart
Of a child
2) We’re taught to put faith in all that you’ve promised
And sometimes it’s easy to say
When it seems that you’re listenin’ closely
To all of the prayers that we pray
But when we pray so long
And no answer’s here
We doubt your promise
We give way to our fears
3) We’re taught to love without limits or boundaries
And sometimes it’s easy to do
When surrounded by walls of protection
Where the sting of rejection is new
But when our love runs deep
And the giving leaves us broken
We grow weary of the loving
And we fear the grief again
Bridge) Unless we become as little children
We cannot enter the Kingdom of Heaven
May we never forget
The trust we’ve had in days now spent
Help us alway remember
The heart that you require . . . .
Father, give us the heart
Give us the heart
Of a child
May we never grow too old to sit at the feet of the Great Teacher and learn his ways. My prayer is that our hearts will remain tender in his hands, our trust will remain firm in his goodness, our faith will stay strong in his attentiveness, and our love will grow in the hope that we can never out-love him.
Thank you for reading.
Image: My A Reader's Hebrew Bible, Zondervan, Dr. A Philip Brown, II, and Dr. Bryan W. Smith.
Source: Simon, Resnikoff, Motzkin, The First Hebrew Primer, Third Edition.