Faith Like a Child
“Dear Jesus,” my seven-year-old spoke at the dinner table last night. She broke into prayer, almost interrupting my husband’s “amen” after he had finished blessing the tacos. “Dear, um, God…” she continued, “please bring Lily back to live here. We love her so much. And all of them. Okay?”
She looked up at me, picking up her fork to eat.
“Oh, and Amen.” She closed her eyes again briefly.
My husband looked over with pain in his eyes. Our friends were moving away and had left last week on a cross-country road trip to their new home. Naomi’s little friend, Lily, was not coming back. Although we would visit, it wouldn’t be the same as it had been.
I thought of two little blonde heads sharing bath times, snack times, beach times and it hurt to think about that never happening again.
He spoke to her, “you know, honey, they aren’t coming back.”
Her eyebrows scrunched up in an aching look. “I know, Daddy.”
“I know, Daddy.” She had said, but she prayed anyway.
I wonder if this is the faith Jesus talks about when he tells us that we need to come like a child, that the kingdom is filled with those who have innocent faith.
In Luke 18, Jesus invites the children to be blessed and the disciples rebuke them as they come. How dare they? They might have whispered to each other. Children? He can’t waste his time with children!
But Jesus doesn’t waste anything, nor does he see the children’s approach as an imposition.
“Unless you receive the kingdom as a child, you will never enter it,” he tells them.
Faith, just like a child. Like a child who hopes for the best in the world. Like a child who gives love freely and openly with thrown open arms for her parents. Like a child who prays, with unguarded faith that her friend will move back, even while knowing she likely won’t.
This kind of faith is kingdom faith. But much of the time, we operate in a kind of adult-Christian-realism that borders on Pharisaical.
We often let this idea that “God can’t because God hasn’t” idea invade our minds that our hearts stop believing in the bigness and the all-powerfulness of God.
Can God heal? Yes, he can. Does God intervene in impossible situations? All the time. Does God move the hardest of “mountains,” the human heart? Absolutely.
But we don’t pray in this way because we’ve grown up too much.
Will my daughter’s little friend move back? Probably not. But it doesn’t hurt her to pray with faith. Instead, it’s good practice. Even more so, it doesn’t hurt us to watch and take note.
It would also be a good thing to begin to pray for love as big as a child’s, hope as far as a child’s reaches, and faith as long as that of a little girl who misses her best friend.
Read an earlier post by Sarah here.
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