Psalm 23:4 – I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. (KJV)
My almost three-year-old toddler has a treasured item, which, much to my embarrassment, she insists on carting around with her everywhere she goes. It is her beloved "Blankie", a well-worn and tattered but much-loved fleece baby afghan blanket. She sleeps with it, eats with it, shows it off to grocery store employees, and uses it in all kinds of imaginary play. It transforms into a cape for when she is Wonder Woman, or as a ballet tutu for dancing around the living room with her teenaged sister. Trying to launder this item is like trying to wrestle honey from a bear. She literally parks herself in front of the dryer with her tear-streaked, angelic face, pleading in a pitiful, panic-laced tone every five minutes, "Is Blankie done yet, Mommy?"
Blankie is her best friend. The world is not such a bad place when her trusted pal is by her side. The scary darkness of bedtime is no problem as long as her beloved confidant is sleeping with her. There is nothing she can't do — no vegetable too gross to consume, no park slide too high to master, no puzzle too complicated to assemble — if Blankie is there to bolster her confidence and ease her fears.
More than anything else, though, her blanket is soothing. To my tiny daughter, her attachment to this piece of talcum-scented cloth is as natural as breathing. Oh sure, I get comments from nay-sayers who think she is too old to be so possessive of an inanimate object. But what they fail to grasp is that some day soon, Blankie will be cast aside, when she, and only she, determines she is ready for its replacement.
When she is old enough to comprehend the concept, I pray that Jesus will become her new Blankie.
Having been devoted to such a comforting and treasured item as Blankie, she should have no problem understanding how One who loves her more than Mommy and Daddy will be her new best and forever friend — One who will be a constant source of comfort and joy. She will learn with childlike faith how Jesus, just like Blankie, will calm her fears, stay eternally by her side, and renew her strength when life gets tough.
And I hope that her heart will forever be committed. Her attachment to Him can become as natural as drawing breath, as she fondly remembers that Jesus is her Blankie.
And, prayerfully, she will take Him everywhere and show Him off to every deli clerk she encounters.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, all Your little lambs need the peace of knowing Your Son, Jesus Christ. Thank You for guiding Christian parents, and we pray that You will help them to teach their precious children the joy of knowing that Your Son's comfort can be found in His everlasting arms, now and forevermore. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.