“GOING DOWN LOW
She was a beautiful little girl: blonde hair in one long braid; blue eyes like the widows into the heaven only a 5-year-old could see. She sat in her white lacey dress along with the other kids at the children’s story. It was Pentecost Sunday and the children’s storyteller was trying to get the point across that just like the wind, we can’t see the Holy Spirit but we can see what the Holy Spirit does. “Just like God,” the storyteller said, “we can’t SEE God, but we know He’s there by what He does”. Then, sure in her direction, the storyteller asked: “Have any of you ever seen God?” The little angel in the white dress raised her eyes and in a soft confident voice said: “I see God. Every time Gram and I go down low, I see God.” The storyteller was at a loss as to how to reply. The little girl insisted: “Every time Gram and I go down low, I see God.” There were a few chuckles from the congregation, but most were silent. I think they knew that the Pentecost Holy Spirit had come to them in an unexpected moment.
How that children’s story ended was lost on me. I don’t remember anything beyond the little girl’s answer: “Every time Gram and I go down low, I see God.” We established after the service that what she meant by “going down low” was that she and Gram knelt to pray. No one dared question her further about seeing God. It reminds me of a heart-wrenching story that noted author and preacher Chuck Swindoll shared. A little boy, also no more than 5 years old, lay in the children’s ward of a hospital, obviously in his last hours dying from brain cancer. His mom and dad stood nearby in tears as his breathing grew less regular and more shallow. Then the little boy began whispering: “I hear the bells; I hear the bells.”
A well-meaning nurse responded: “Oh honey, you’re probably hearing a sound from somebody else’s room.” But the boy insisted in a whisper growing ever fainter: “I hear the bells. I hear the bells.” His mom grabbed the nurse’s hand and pulled her aside and said through her tears; “Don’t tell him he doesn’t hear those bells. I know my son and if he says he hears those bells, then he hears them.
Those bells he hears are the bells welcoming him into heaven.” Those were his last words: “I hear the bells; I hear the bells.” In a crescendo of joyful ringing bells, he went into the loving arms of Jesus.
Children have a window peering into heaven that few of us as adults do. The little angel in the white dress says she sees God every time she “goes down low.” (prays). I believe her. The little boy heard bells ushering him into heaven. I believe him.
So what do WE see when we “go down low”? Do we see God?
Dear God, how I long to be a child in my faith. I am more convinced than ever that my prayer must be, OUR prayer must be as individuals and as the church: Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Psalm 51:10.
I have hope that by the working of that same Holy Spirit who stirred the wind and stirred hearts at Pentecost and led the little girl to talk about her experiences during the children’s story; someday we will all see like my little white-dressed teacher.
Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. Matthew 5:8