When I was a little girl, I absolutely loved the pictures in my Sunday school classroom of Jesus surrounded by children. I could only imagine what it would have been like to be so near to Him.
In fact, one of my favorite accounts in scripture was, and still is, in Matthew 18. Jesus calls a child to Him and tells the disciples they must become like children. He says whoever receives such a child in His name receives Jesus Himself. Then He followed that up with some harsh words for anyone who leads these little ones astray. Words that involve millstones and drowning. Yikes!
Jesus Loves The Little Children
Jesus’ love for children is seen on more than one occasion in the Gospels, but I cherish what He says in Matthew 18:10 best:
“See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that in Heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in Heaven.”
What peace that brings to a mother’s heart! Our young ones have angels who report directly to the Father. As difficult as it is to grasp, God truly loves the children even more than we moms do!
The same is true for those with cognitive impairments. As a huge fan of Alabama football, I adore Coach Gene Stallings. His son, Johnny, was born with Down syndrome but remained the apple of his dad’s eye until Johnny’s death. Coach Stallings’ face would light up when he spoke of his son.
I’ll never forget what Coach Stallings said during an interview with Dr. James Dobson: “I wouldn’t trade anything for what Johnny’s got. He has the forever heart of a child.”
He went on to say when it becomes his turn to walk through the gates of Heaven, he knows right behind Jesus will be his beloved Johnny, waiting to greet him.
When we approach a subject as serious as this one, we must be careful not to produce reason derived from sentiment. The Bible doesn’t specifically address whether infants and young children or the cognitively impaired go to Heaven upon death.
But I do believe we can boldly claim these precious ones are received into Heaven — not based on their innocence solely, but based on what we know to be true about God and His grace.
We aren’t putting our hope in what we want to be true. Instead, we put our hope in what we know to be true about the character of God.