Friday, October 8, 2010

The faith of a child

Matthew 18:1-4 (New International Version)

The Greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven
1At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, "Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?"
2He called a little child and had him stand among them. 3And he said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.


This scripture has taken on a whole new meaning to me recently. I have always thought of it as meaning that we must be innocent. Now I see that it is talking about absolute trust and faith.

As children, we have absolute trust in our parents. We know that they will never ask us to do anything that is bad for us. We don't like their discipline, but as we get older, we realize that the discipline was essential to our development. Children have such trust in their parents that if a father says to his son "Jump and I will catch you." the child doesn't question his father. He knows his father would never do anything to hurt him. Do kids throw fits and disobey? Yes. No one likes discipline, no one likes to clean their room, or their mess. No child likes to go to bed or eat their vegetables, or do their homework. Does that mean parents should stop telling their children to do these things?
Children don't go search out other parents just because they think theirs are being unfair. No matter how much they threaten. They don't just say, "I think I am going to go and search for proof that you are my real parents". Children don't see their parents conceive them, or their mother give birth to them (unless you videotaped it ). I have to admit, I was the only blonde in a family of brunettes, so I did question on a few occasions if my parents were my real parents. But I never doubted their love for me. And I never felt like I needed to go search for truth.

That is how God wants us to be. He will never tell us to do something that is not good for us. He will never tell us to do something that isn't crucial for our growth. He disciplines us, but I think his form of discipline comes more in the form of natural consequences. If we do the things he tells us not to do, then we will have consequences. Sure like children, we, as Christians don't always obey, and sometimes we hate the consequences we have to endure. But like most kids, in time, and with maturity, we learn that God is not unfair. As you get older and you do something wrong, and you know your parents know, don't you sort of anticipate their discipline? I can remember the feeling.

As children completely trust their parents in all things, we should trust God in the same way.

When we were training our children to go to sleep on their own (ages 7 and 5), Angelina (age 5) said to me, "I am scared." and I said to her, "If there were anything to be scared of, I wouldn't let you stay in here. I wouldn't have you go to sleep on your own if I didnt know you were completely safe." And she took me at my word and at least for that night, quit being afraid. That is the kind of faith God wants us to have. That is what we must do to become like a child. We will be afraid sometimes, we will be uncertain, but God knows what is best for us. We just have to take him at his word.