I believe that some of the greatest secrets that we can uncover are found behind the veil of prejudice. They are hidden in the places that we dare not look. We’ve been trained not to. In fact, the secrets themselves are woven into those areas. As our prejudices fall, the secret is revealed, the thread is unraveled. Our prejudices put a filter on things and label them as “less than” without us consciously realizing it. They cause us to view things as, “you may need what I have to offer, but I already have what you can offer or I don’t want it.” When we push past those limiting beliefs, we discover a world full of wonders and secrets, of miracles. It causes us to grow in ways we never thought possible. It seems that God intentionally hides things in places where we have to let go of perceived assumptions to find them.
Joey Papa is a talker for a living. But more than that, he’s a father. He loved his daughter, Canaan, with all his heart. She was born different. Like 14% of children in the United States, she was born with special health care needs. She died on October 30, 2015 due to medical complications. Through the journey of loving his daughter in her life and her death, Joey discovered that Canaan carried something powerful, a secret. Canaan could not speak. Her ways of communicating were limited. What was a father who talks for a living going to do to communicate on a deep level with his daughter who could not speak? To say that this experience changed Joey is an understatement. Something was birthed in him. Something deep. Beyond words.
On the other side of every limitation is a vast expanse of the love of God. A love that fills your capacity, overflows it, and forces it to expand. As your capacity for love expands your view of the world begins to change. You start to lose prejudices. You start to see above the fog of cultural perceptions. You see things as they really are. You see tremendous, priceless value. In everything. In everyone. You find something limitless in the limitation.
So, Jesus tells us to be like children. See the world the way they do. Love like they do, with abandon. He talks with the woman at the well, shows her love, reveals the value in her. He reveals to her a life she desires, found in a God she wished was real – and has just discovered that He is. He debunks the leaders who were so blinded by religious and perceived cultural limitations that they couldn’t see the truth – the truth that the value of someone is not based on how they measure up to certain perceived standards. And through everything, He loves, deeply.
Why does Jesus do all these things?
I’ve heard this quote before: “You can tell a lot about a person by how he treats those who can do nothing for him.”
It’s a good quote, that we can apply to Jesus, but I think there is something much deeper hidden in what Jesus does. I think he knows that there is something we can learn from children – from those who are labeled as “less than”. Those who we don’t think know what we know, who don’t understand what we understand. There’s something that we can learn from those with special needs. What do they see that we can’t? What do they know that we don’t? What can they teach us? There are secrets hidden in these lives that can change ours, but we have to change how we learn, how we see. We have to look through new eyes, and communicate in new ways.
“Then some children were brought to Him so that He might lay His hands on them and pray; and the disciples rebuked them. But Jesus said, “Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” – Matthew 19:13-15
The kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these. It belongs to them. They can see it because they haven’t learned prejudice. They still believe in miracles. They are still full of light. They have access to the secrets.
So what are the secrets? How do we discover them?
Joey is going on this journey. Please join him. See what he is finding.