The Purest Praise

"...and a little child will lead them." Isaiah 11:6 (NIV)

My youngest kept us both up until 2:00 a.m. early this morning with illness so Rob went to church without me. Someone asked me to go to church with them tonight, and since I had not been able to attend church this morning, I decided to go.

I glanced down at the church's program and saw that they had a visiting children's choir from South Korea as part of the service. The children sang familiar praise choruses in both English and Korean. I was immediately transported back to my childhood at our bush mission station of Nkara-Ewa in Congo. No, they don't speak Korean in the Congo, but I remembered the first time I heard a familiar hymn being sung by the Congolese as a young girl. I realized, for the first time, that English was not the only language understood before the throne of God. That was a stunning thought to me at age ten. I wondered how God could understand all the languages of the world. I was struck by that thought again tonight as these little children raised their voices in Korean to the same God who understands my English praise.

My eyes traveled around the room. I was thoroughly enjoying listening to a different language, but I could not tell if those around me were. A few in the congregation actually looked bored or preoccupied. The children sang several musical numbers before the pastor gave his message. After he finished, the children filed back onto the stage to sing two more songs to close the service. What happened next was one of the most profound moments I have experienced in a long time.

The familiar sound of "Jesus Loves Me" filled the auditorium. That was quickly followed by the little chorus called, "Oh, How He Loves You and Me." After the first few lines of the second song had begun, two-thirds of the children walked down the platform steps into the congregation. Because the children were still singing, I wondered if those walking down the steps would encircle the room and continue singing until the end of the song. I was not prepared for what they did next.

My daughter and I were seated toward the back of the first section of the twenty pews in front of the platform. I gasped as I saw an incredible transformation take place in front of my eyes. The children were splitting up the auditorium and walking along the pews among us. These eight to eleven-year-olds were suddenly the arms of Jesus as each one sought out those in the rows of pews and bent down to embrace us. No one in the room was preoccupied anymore. There was hardly a dry eye in the place. This darling around-ten-year-old girl stooped down to whisper in my ear: "God bless you!" as she hugged my neck tight. I doubt she knew much English beyond that. Most sat moved to tears as purity embraced each of one of us blessed to be there. These children had no agenda; they were kids. Little ones that had been ordained by God Himself to encourage a roomful of weary sojourners who needed a fresh touch from Jesus. A physical touch. They received a standing ovation at the end of the song.

My thoughts went to Audrey and Luke. What are they doing right now? How sweet is a baby's praise to his or her Creator? Neither one of them ever wronged anyone. They never had any ulterior, impure motive behind any cry their little voices made. The purity of their praise must be the most wonderful sound to their heavenly Father. God has millions like them from every nation, tribe, and tongue who have left this earth as infants. Heaven will be a glorious place to hear purity's sweet voice singing out of the mouths of those who never had a chance to learn how speak an earthly language.

Jesus, the purity of a little child can cause grown adults to weep. You tell us that we must become like one in our attitude and humble ourselves before You in order to enter Your kingdom. Thank you for the vivid reminder I had tonight that purity does exist in this troubled, sin-sick world in which I live. Thank you that a little child led me to worship You.