(Photo by Selma Komisky)
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Olaf: The Patron Saint for Kids
By Ben Courson
One of my life goals is to become Olaf from the movie “Frozen.”
He’s friendly. Outgoing. A dreamer. He has an uncanny ability to disassemble himself at times. He likes warm hugs. He’s created with magical powers. And he loves all things summer even though he’s a snowman.
What’s not to like?
I wouldn’t mind being a snowman with magical powers who likes warm hugs!
Olaf was built by little girls and he never lost touch with his own childlike origins. Cynicism simply wasn’t in his DNA. Part of his capacity for infantile wonder was hardwired into his unshakable belief in love. He liked to say things like: “Some people are worth melting for” and “An act of true love will thaw a frozen heart.”
Love has a way of restoring wonder back into even the chilliest of hearts.
Just as millions of kids are drawn to Olaf, Jesus was a tractor beam for children in his own day. He embodied such love better than any snowman ever could. Of the 90 times that Jesus was addressed in the Bible, 60 times he was called “teacher.” Usually children don’t like to be stuck in a classroom, but whenever Rabbi Jesus was around kids flocked to this particular teacher. When the disciples warded off the onslaught of ankle-biters trying to hang out with Jesus, Jesus demanded that they let the little children come to him for His kingdom was made up of such tiny tots! He said the only way to enter his kingdom was to become like a child.
Jesus had a toddler’s zest for life and walked with wonder among the lilies and sparrows. He was a lot like Olaf, very attractive to kids. He too believed in love—that God is love—which He radiated profusely. Jesus said the Father is, in fact, SO LOVING that He counts the number of hairs on your head. It has been computed that the average blond person has 145,000 hairs. The average dark-haired person has 120,000 hairs. The average red-head has 90,000 hairs. Even though we lose 50 to 150 strands of hair a day, God keeps meticulous tabs.
Now, if you go up to a girl and say, “You have 93,354 hairs. I’ve been watching,” she would run for her life. She’d see you for the obsessed stalker that you are. But God is so obsessed with you that He counts your hairs. The same God who—according to the Bible—counts the stars counts your hairs. What?!
And just how many stars are there, anyway?
The Milky Way alone has over 100 billion stars. That’s a lot! But, the current estimate is that there are 2 trillion galaxies!(!!!!!) To give you an idea of how many that is: there are more stars in the universe than grains of sand on any beach, more stars than seconds have passed since Earth formed, more stars than words and sounds ever uttered by all the humans who ever lived.
And yet the same God who counts the stars “finds the time” to count your hairs. That’s how much He loves you.
The Bible also says He calls the stars by name (“Epsilon” and “Alpha Cantuari” and “Anteres” and “G2 Dwarf” and “S2” and “the star of Benjamin”—which some friends bought for me and named in my honor. But it only costs like fifty bucks so I can’t get too bigheaded.) According to the Old Testament, God calls forth the stars by name. And yet Jesus says He calls His sheep by name! He’s not too busy with the “stars” to know our names! He really loves you.
Jesus specifically said God SO LOVES the world. Our world. Earth. Even though there are tons of worlds like ours, He’s got a particular passion for our planet. Latest estimates, extrapolating from the current catalogs, suggest as many as forty billion Earth-like planets in the Milky Way alone! And, yet, God renders a special care to our planet. You can see it in the way He built it. The sun is constantly spewing radiation that’s very bad for us, but our atmosphere blocks it! That’s the loving hand of God. If you ever become a space cadet, and NASA or Elon Musk sends you off-world, you can only go to space so many times as an astronaut. The amount of time you spend outside earth’s atmosphere is measured because your risk of cancer starts to sky rocket due to genetic damage from cosmic rays. God loves our planet so much He protects it.
If earth were slightly closer to the sun, we’d all cook and if it were slightly farther away we’d all freeze.
What a loving Creator!
In fact, at the rate we are discovering meteorites on Earth whose origin is Mars, we conclude that about a thousand tons of Martian rocks rain down on Earth each year. But God invented Jupiter—which has such great mass and so strong a gravity-well that it acts a massive shield to guard us from the world-ending meteors hailing from the Kuiper Belt or the Oort Cloud that would otherwise make us go extinct.
God’s got our backs.
God is watching out for our planet because He really loves it. He SO loved it. Why? Because it’s the home He built for His kids! We are His kids, not by worth but by birth. Mark’s gospel is the earliest gospel. In Mark’s gospel Jesus calls God “Father” six times. It’s interesting to me that the New Testament authors don’t emphasize us as men of God or women of God but CHILDREN of God; because He’s our loving ABBA, our Daddy. Like Olaf, we are to be childlike and bask in love like little kids do.
When humanity was still childlike in its infancy, there was a glorious relationship between humans and God. It was called Eden. Adam and Eve remained as naked as babies coming fresh out of the oven! They remained as naked as infants. Some scholars believe the reason there were no need for clothes is because there was so much glory. It was tangible. They were clothed with bright light.
This glory from elder times—the glory of our infancy—remains with us today!
“Christ in us is the hope of glory,” Paul writes. The word glory—shekinah—means “dwelling.” This hope indwells us. It’s inside us and can’t be taken from us. The Hebrew word for hope in the Old Testament means “knitted.” Our hope doesn’t unravel when our circumstances do because it’s knitted to the Source, the Prime Mover, the Universe, the Mystery, the Principle Behind Which You Cannot Go, God Himself!
The wonder is hardwired into us.
And yet, with all the bad news floating about on the media, it’s easy to get jaded and squash anything childlike within us. Culture eats ideology for lunch. In Switzerland, God looks like a banker. In Germany, God looks like a policeman. In America, God looks like a businessman. To us in the U.S., walking with God can feel like upward mobility and the conformist values of an American dream.
But even though the vicissitudes of culture stamp cataracts on our eyes so we can no longer see God clearly, the Ancient of Days will forever be more childlike than we.
Become a child again. Believe in wonder. Believe in love. And don’t let any of the world’s fiery tribulations melt your inner Olaf!
To find out more about Ben and to order your copy of “Optimisfits,” visit bencourson.com