“A child, more than all other gifts that earth can offer to declining man, brings hope with it, and forward-looking thoughts.” ~William Wordsworth~
So begins Silas Marner: The Weaver of Raveloe, a classic novel I read with my 10th graders every year. It’s a beautiful story of a broken man’s redemption.
In the first pages of the book, Silas is betrayed by his best friend, rejected by his fiancée, and ostracized from his community. Believing God caused these hurts, Silas relocates to a remote village, where he believes God will never find him. There, he simply exists for fifteen years, becoming a lifeless, shadow of a man.
Then one New Year’s Eve, a golden-haired toddler stumbles into his hut and changes him forever.
You’d think the answer to Silas’s pain would involve closure or therapy or, at the very least, a makeover. Maybe putting a beautiful woman on his arm or restoring his fortune would go a long way to making him feel valued. And, of course, a great career couldn’t hurt.
But, no, what heals the crusty old bachelor’s heart is a child. An innocent little girl that brings out all his best qualities as he nurtures, teaches, and cherishes her.
Even though Silas Marner is a fiction story, I can’t help but believe that it’s quite true-to-life.
For I’ve seen God fill needs that way, with answers that might look—to the untrained eye—like problems or burdens or mistakes. And I’ve seen God chose the unlikeliest heroes to step in and save a life.
God’s ways are not our ways, and His prescription for abundant life is filled with paradoxes.
In Matthew 18:2-5, “[Jesus] called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: ‘Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.’”
- Kids turn our focus towards the future.
- Kids model the beauty of innocence.
- Kids show us how simple faith can be.
May we enter 2015 like children who have entrusted our hands to our Heavenly Father’s sure grasp and will follow where He leads—without looking back.
“In old days there were angels who came and took men by the hand and led them away from the city of destruction. We see no white-winged angels now. But yet men are led away from threatening destruction.
A hand is put into theirs, which leads them forth gently towards a calm and bright land, so that they look no more backward.
And the hand may be a little child’s.”
~from Silas Marner: The Weaver of Raveloe by George Elliot~