Every once in a while, Jesus says something that makes us remember that he was with the Father in heaven before he came to us. This is one of those times, when we feel we are hearing a behind-the-scenes detail from that glorious time. He’s telling us about an amazing sight he used to see in heaven: little ones being attended by angels, before the face of God.
There is a couple in our church who have suffered an unimaginable grief. Their healthy little daughter did not wake up one morning. A sudden, devastating illness silently took her life in the night. I have listened to the grief of her loving mother over these past few months, as she tries to understand, to imagine a future without her little one. One of the things she wonders and worries about is, “How can my daughter do without me, her mother, up in heaven? She’s so little. She is only used to being with me. What is she doing without me? Who is caring for her now?” It’s like the worries of a parent over leaving her little one with a sitter or in daycare, but much more cosmic and unknowable. You can’t check on a little one in heaven with a baby monitor or secret security camera!
But Jesus gives us a glimpse. This verse seems to suggest that each little one has an attendant angel, and that the angels who care for them can always see the face of God. So this whole category of little ones and angels seems to be in a place of special closeness to God. They can see His face, and God can see them too.
Whatever our little ones in heaven are up to is unknown to us. To know that they are attended by angels is reassuring. And to know that God is personally watching over them, and that they can see His face of compassion, love, and grace warms our hearts and turns our tears from pain to consolation. God knows they need special care, and God is watching over them.