a Love lavished

see what great Love the Father has
lavished on us, that we might be
called children of God / 1 John 3:1


Luke 18 | The backwards King comes to town. High and mighty and holy, He shows up to the land of the small, the meek, the lowly. He sits down among the ordinaries, as the anyones come from all over to hear His teaching live and loud and clear. The crowd multiplies, layer upon layer as the nothing-specials rush up close to Jesus. The littlest kids tag along, their moms hopeful that an encounter with the King will bless, heal, grow them up right. Like any little kid would, they peeked through gaps and tiptoed up real tall. But from the way back, they can’t see the One they’ve been wondering about. So wide-eyed, they crawl through legs and weave around grown-ups as quick as their little feet will move. They’ve got to see the King! Right then and there, the disciples can’t stand what they’re watching! Jesus’ very best students, those most studied-up on His tendencies, get Him all wrong. They call out the parents: How dare you let your street kids enter such sacred space! How dare you let them muddy holy ground. Have you forgotten this is the King?

But my King’s different. He loves the little children. He doesn’t stop them or slow them, He bends low to their size, to their eye-level. He’s available, He welcomes the little ones in. His mercies are simple and special towards them. His hand pulls them close and wraps them up tight and sets them down at His feet. There’s a space for them there, their very name etched on it. And He lets them stay though they fidget and forget it’s the King they’re looking at. His love’s big and beckoning, colorful and upside-down and kid-friendly. It’s a Love lavished, that we might called His children. Lavished not that we’d be called His students, His shepherds, His apostles, His warriors, His workers. A Love lavished, that we’d be called—of all possible names—His little kids. Jesus loves the little children—for they’re the ones who get it right.

Quit holding them back! Let My little children come to me. Do not slow them or stop them, for My kingdom is all theirs. They’re Mine and I just love them. Watch how well they know that. Watch how they receive it, watch how they run to Me. I love them just because—watch them get that right.

Just-because Love, lavished like there’s no running out! It’s backwards to the way this work-hard world spins—no conditions, no resume, no measure or qualifications. All for the recipient, for free and forever! For the anyones and everyones. For the littlest kids! For the empty-handed, the messy, those stained and sticky. For the hiding, the hurting, the ones dragged unwillingly to Him in the first place. For the incapable, inarticulate, unqualified and misunderstood. Just-because Love, lavished that we’d be called His little kids.

I want to get it right! So I’m done with manufactured maturity and keeping my distance from the grandest King. I am not made to stand stoic back row when the backwards King beckons me closer. He holds His arms all stretched out, that I’d run His way hard and fast and uninhibited simply because I’ve got to see the King. He notices me in the way back, lets me come messy, and renames me His very own. A Love lavished, that I’d run wild from who knows where. That I would not be hindered or held back, that I’d drag whoever will come with to the beckoning King. That I’d crawl through crowds until I’m up close to my Jesus. And that I’d quit attempting to earn or win or dissect or study up on His love. A Love lavished, simply that I’d receive it. A love lavished, just because.

You tell me to come messy—not to polish up or perform. You prefer me undone and uninhibited, running fast as I can at You! You tell me, Breathe easy, child. I can exhale at that. So unwind me, J! Unwind me back to little kid Layne. May I receive just-because Love—no resistance, no whys or buts, no handing it back. And may I wear the crown You set on my head, for I’m called a child of the backwards King.

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