Monday, September 14, 2009

The Voice of a Child

One of the most revealing moments in the Savior’s ministry in the America’s is often missed. I know I missed it even after years of reading the Book of Mormon. It does not happen on the first day’s visit but on his return the following day. We read this brief description: “And it came to pass that he did teach and minister unto the children of the multitude of whom hath been spoken, and he did loose their tongues and they did speak unto their fathers great and marvelous things, even greater than he had revealed unto the people; and he loosed their tongues that they could utter.” (3 Nephi 26:14)
I am touched and instructed by this verse for two reasons. First the Savior allowed the junior primary to teach the deepest truths of the three-day visit eclipsing even his own personal commentaries. Second, they were to instruct their fathers. I think he was sending us all a message that we listen to our children, for they may have the most momentous teachings to offer us.

I recall one evening coming home to find my three year old daughter busily engaged in a conversation with someone on her toy pink telephone. She was quite animated both in her questions and comments and in the expression on her face as she listened to whoever she was pretending to talk with. Being somewhat curious, I asked her, “Megan who are you talking to?” She looked up at me with a mildly annoyed expression as if to say, “Can’t you see I’m on the phone?” She then continued with her conversation. I decided to be persistent so I quietly asked again, “Who is it?” She returned my gaze and whispered with a tone of awe yet still mingled with a touch of impatience at my interruptions, “It’s Jesus!”

She then returned to her phone. I could not resist asking one final question before I left her to that wonderful world of a child’s imagination. “What is he telling you?” I whispered back. She paused for a moment as if she was receiving some final thoughts from the voice on the other end of the phone, then removing the phone from her ear, she answered, “He telling me to get married in the temple.” I almost picked up the phone to see if someone was really there.

I have often reflected on that tiny encounter with a small child. The intensity of her effort to listen, that look of total immersion in a conversation that seemed to her the most important in her life has more than once caused me to ask if my interactions with God are expressed and engaged in with an equal amount of concentration? Perhaps, most of all was the innocence of her casual relationship with the divine that totally disarmed me. Do we not worship a God who would commune with us as openly and freely as my daughter with her pink toy telephone? Often, his voice is found in the voices of our children.

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