His head was bent down and I could tell he was thinking because his eyelids fluttered a few seconds. Someone had hurt his feelings, and he was trying to gain control of his emotions, and perhaps acquire a bit of understanding. He had been wounded, and even worse, it was by one of his own. A brother.
“I didn’t like when he told me that.” He was playing with his fingers. “That made me sad.”
Words not particularly profound, yet descriptive and emotionally mature from a five-year old. His self-awareness impressed me.
I opened my mouth to comfort him, to impart words of solace, or at least empathy. But once again, my little G spoke first. Holding out four fingers horizontally toward me, he proffered a wan but encouraging smile.
“Forty-four,” I repeated smiling toward him, and I could tell he had already begun the process of healing. In just two words he uttered greater wisdom than I would ever have given at that moment.
Well, let me explain.
For the last few years my boys have been attending a Tuesday morning gym class for homeschoolers in our area. The gym teacher is a mom of three public school teens who developed this ministry for her church and community. Not only does she lead a gym class weekly free of charge, but she infuses the lessons with biblical truth, friendship and Scripture memorization. Each year she chooses a new theme verse. In the past some themes have been “Fly like an eagle” from Isaiah 40:31, “Be still [and know that I am God] from Psalm 46:10, and “Apply your heart to instruction” from Proverbs 23:12. At the close of each class, all the students gather together in a huddle with their hands in the middle and chant loudly the year’s theme as if it were a winning cheer. It is cute, especially when the three to six-year olds participate. And yet, watching G hold out his “four” I am aware of how powerful Scripture is even to the mind of a five-year old. This year’s verse is “Rejoice in the LORD!” Sometimes we have bad days, sometimes we do not do our best, but always there is a deep reason for rejoicing. “Rejoice in the LORD!” Philippians 4:4.
And there you have it. Four, four. Forty-four.
The truth is this isn’t the first time G has made use of this nugget of truth, not the first time he has laid claim to this promise of treasure. I have been reproved previously during a bad day, when I was displaying less patience and empathy than I should. His short fingers in the shape of a four brought me right back to where I needed to be.
This, however, was the first time he had turned it on himself. Applying Scripture to his own heart at five – I couldn’t be prouder. Or more grateful.
Forty-four to each one of you.