Our hearts long to recover a sense of wonder; it is one of the reasons only the child-heart can receive the kingdom. Remember now—we shall be as children again:“
Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” (Mark 10:14–15)
The adult in us says, How touching, and dismisses it the next moment in order to go on with our very grown-up lives. But Jesus is being utterly serious, and thank God. For it is the child-heart still in us that loves Mos Eisley, Middle Earth, Narnia—these fairy-tale worlds that in hope-beyond-hope we long to be lost in ourselves. (Thus the allure of video games that let us do so, in an artificial way.) I believe it is right here that we can discern the longing for the kingdom most clearly—the child in us longing for wonder and a “new world”; the promise of the earth in its wildest and most radiant moments whispering back, It is coming; it’s just around the corner.
This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike “What’s next, Papa?” God’s Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are. We know who he is, and we know who we are: Father and children. And we know we are going to get what’s coming to us—an unbelievable inheritance! We go through exactly what Christ goes through. If we go through the hard times with him, then we’re certainly going to go through the good times with him!
That’s why I don’t think there’s any comparison between the present hard times and the coming good times. The created world itself can hardly wait for what’s coming next. Everything in creation is being more or less held back. God reins it in until both creation and all the creatures are ready and can be released at the same moment into the glorious times ahead. Meanwhile, the joyful anticipation deepens. (Romans 8:15–21 The Messsage)
“What’s next, Papa?” indeed.