The young couple had a young child, a little girl barely past her infancy, wriggly and just learning her words. Her father held her as they stood with the rest of us, singing the songs led by the musicians, following the words cast upon the screen hanging over the stage.
The little girl wasn’t looking at the words, of course. In fact, she wasn’t facing the screen or the stage. She faced her father and stared at him as she wriggled in his arms. Then, as the congregation moved from the finish of one song to beginning the next, her expression changed. Staring at her father, eyes widening, she burst forth with “Ha-la-loo-wah!”
She’d heard a word she knew in the song sung by all around her.
“Ha-la-loo-wah!” she said again.
“That’s right!” her father said back to his little one. “Hallelujah!” And they beamed at each other for the rest of the song.
This is a word spoken much in their home, I imagine.
In the arms of a loving God
Jesus told his friends to let small children come close to him, even putting a child up on his lap in one of the stories we read of his teachings and travels.
He took a little child whom he placed among them. Taking the child in his arms, he said to them, “Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me.” (Mark 9:36-37.)
Consider how protective Jesus is of the child, and – by extension – of all children. He holds the little one in his arms. In his arms! Can you imagine the child’s response? Was this a toddler? Older? Younger? Did the child beam at Jesus – a beam even brighter than the one the little girl I saw had for her father in church – as she or he somehow recognized Jesus’ love?
You, too, are a child of God.
Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God … . (John 1:12.)
For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. (John 8:14.)
So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith … . (Galatians 3:26.)
See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! (1 John 3:1.)
As God’s children, loved as infinitely as Jesus loved the little one on his lap, do you beam at the thought of him holding you close? He does hold you close, you know. He is not only with you; he is in you. (Galatians 2:20, Colossians 1:27.) And when it comes to God’s presence, Darrell Johnson says, “You can’t get closer than in.”
Face to face with Jesus and his love for you
Hallelujah is a good word to speak to your heavenly Father. It’s a transliteration of the Hebrew for “Praise you, Yah” where “Yah” is short for “Yahweh” or “YHWH,” the name God gave identifying himself as “I am that I am.”
The little girl knew this word as one that her parents spoke with love and enthusiasm. She spoke it with love and enthusiasm, too, even if she did not know its full meaning and significance. Your heavenly Father loves to hold you close and hear you as well, even if you do not yet know the full meaning and significance of your relationship with him. As John went on to say in his first letter, and Paul in one of his:
Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. (1 John 3:2.)
For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. (1 Corinthians 13:12.)
The Holy Spirit, who is God and is the Spirit of Christ, is in you even now. Yet one day you will see Jesus physically, face to face. Can you imagine doing anything but beaming in reflection of his glorious presence and saying words of praise to him, thankful for his grace and love, reveling in being part of his family, in being a child of God held in his arms?