If we have a heart to learn and a willingness
to follow the example of children, their divine attributes
can hold a key to unlocking our own spiritual growth.
~ Jean A. Stevens
Recently, Zula came running in from playing outside saying that there was a bug that was bothering her. She is often bothered by bugs, so I wasn’t too worried and told her to stay inside with me until the bug went away.
Moments later, in flies this loud, buzzing wasp. It came in through the open French door and then turned right around and tried to go out the closed side. It was buzzing ferociously as Zula screamed, “That’s the bug that is bothering me!”
Yikes! Those bugs bother me, too. We were semi-safe on the other side of the dining room table, but its ferocity level was increasing with every creepy crash of its bee body against the glass window panes and Zula told me to make it leave. I tried to hide my own anxieties.
In my last recorded CD, I share a whole segment of my own “bee stories” and how bees are all subject to the Savior. I share how time and again I had asked in prayer for the bees to leave me alone and they were quick to obey. As I remembered this faith and testimony, I wanted Zula to have it, too. I told her that we didn’t need to be afraid of this bee.
“The bees obey Jesus,” I said. “Let’s pray and ask Him to make the bee go away.”
My two-and-a-half year old stood on the dining room chair with her dirty bare feet and folded her arms. In her softest voice my sister refers to as her “church voice” she said, “Heaveny Fadder, peas bess dis bee go way. Name of Jesus Chwist, amen.”
With all the hope I had, I said my own silent prayer that God would answer hers. Not because bees are so scary or because stings are the end of the world – I don’t want her to be afraid of bees or stings. But more than not wanting her to be afraid of bees, I wanted her to be filled with faith that God hears her prayers. As much as I can tell her that He does and as much as I can write books about it or record talks about it, she needs to have her own testimony of it. She needs her own personal experiences with prayer.
As she ended her prayer, I looked up at the wasp, still crashing itself against the glass. Holding my breath, I shifted my focus from the wild bee to Zula whose eyes were locked on the buzzing bee and then, with a confidence that belied her toddler age, pointed at it with her finger (colored blue from sidewalk chalk) and stalwartly said, “Go way, Bee.”
The power in her tiny voice startled me and I quickly looked back at the bee just in time to see it fly backwards a few inches, reposition toward the open door and fly outside.
Zula looked at me and shouted, “Mom! Jesus make da bee go way!”
Yes He did! We said a little thank-You prayer and she quickly ran back outside to play, unafraid of anymore bothersome bugs.
I’ve pondered on this experience quit a bit. President Monson has said that “when a child prays, God listens.” And I know – I know – this is true for my child as it seems Zula’s prayers are definitely heard and answered. But aren’t we all children of God?
So why does it seem like God doesn’t answer our prayers quite as easily anymore? I think we’re quick to shed our youthfulness as we grow older, but sometimes, with it goes our child-like faith. We confuse our knowledge that God will answer our prayer with the belief that He simply can…if He wanted to.. In the words of Jean A. Stevens, “Have some of life’s experiences taken from you the believing heart and childlike faith you once had? If so, look around at the children in your life. And then look again.”
We all have things that bug us (so to speak). And no matter the level of ferocity in the buzz of those bothersome burdens, President Monson said that “our Heavenly Father is aware of our needs and will help us as we call upon Him for assistance.”
So let’s take a tip from a two-year-old and pray with our softest church voice then stand on our feet, dirtied from the mud life dragged us through, and point our finger, stained with experience, and tell those buzzing burdens to “Go way.” And with child-like faith know that Jesus not only can do it, He will.
Meg (and Zula)