On the Importance of Childlike Faith

The imagination of a child. It goes without saying, its sensational. You can just tell by the way they tell stories; ya know, the ones that you can not even slightly follow, but to them make total, absolute sense?

It’s like the AT&T commercials with the kids in the schoolroom… You wouldn’t want a smaller treehouse “because it wouldn’t be able to fit a flatscreen TV, and then the TV would be about this big, and you could have to hold the wire in the position you would hold the wire and you wouldn’t be able to see the TV.”

Oh, completely. I totally follow that. ; )

If you know me, you know I ADORE kids. They bring me so much joy just by the things they say and do, without even being aware of how amazingly hilarious and insightful they are. (Everything about being an elementary school teacher appeals to me… except the interacting with parents part.)

When I was just a little squat myself, I was told by my parents and Sunday school teachers that Jesus lives inside of us. Being the bright lil’ devil that I am, I took this beyond literally and believed that a little man lived somewhere in my. Perhaps there’s an organ of the body that facilitates wee men; like a joint-ownership townhouse for God and Jesus.

Looking back, it’s sort of sweet and silly to realize the things I took so literally and how they shaped my perceptions. Especially my spiritual perception. Yet, I am overcome with a sort of disappointment that this sort of childlike faith is no longer so evidently within me.

Jesus said Himself, “I tell you the truth, unless you turn your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven. So anyone who becomes as humble as a little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.” Matthew 18: 2-4

And so I wonder, am I allowing myself to become more like a child in the face of God?

Most of high school and certainly college is based around becoming an adult, entering the “real world.” We read in high school English rite of passage literature, stories on the coming of age, in which a protagonist foregoes his innocence in a moment that make him/her an adult.

But this is so counter to what Jesus preached. We are meant to live counter-culturally, of course, but this one is just hard to grasp: How are we to counter the natural aging process and be as a child?

Last night, while several of my closest friends gathered in our small living room, a small theological conversation came about. I found myself sharing that I struggle knowing how literally to take certain parts of The Bible, considering its numerous translations and potentially lost intended meanings. There certainly has to be words in Greek and Hebrew that do not have a direct English translation, that carry an entirely different cultural connotation. There’s history we don’t know and context we can’t understand. So, where and how do we distinguish those areas of The Bible? What do we take at face value; and what needs special criticism and prayer over?

Unfortunately, no one could really, fully answer my question… understandably so. However, as I ponder the faith I once had as a child and the childlike faith within that still exists, I suppose my question is answered. Because we are the children of God, we must come to terms with the idea that our Father has more wisdom, more understanding than we ever will. Like a young child, we must take our parent’s words for truth because, well, isn’t it obvious? It’s too far beyond our comprehension; we are young; we know our parent knows more than us. Beyond childlike reasoning, it take humility and trust. Our pride can not convince us we understand more than God, yet we must take the complexities and confusions of our faith to Him. And Him alone.

My point is that our faith, as Christians, is hard. It’s often counter-instinctive and sometimes doesn’t sit right with us. That doesn’t mean gloss over those confusing passages in the Bible or mentally throw away what your pastor preached. It doesn’t mean turn your back on Christianity, either.

Instead, turn yourself to a child in need of an answer. Like we all ask at one point or another, “Mommy/Daddy, where to babies come from?”, go to your Father with the tough questions. Go with a heart of humility, acknowledging you know nothing in comparison to His great wisdom.

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