(By CP Cartoonist Rod Anderson)
When was the last time you watched a little child listening and responding to the comments of a parent? The simplicity of a child's worldview is astounding. Sure they have their moments of rebellion and fussing, but don't we all? Their innocent faith, on the other hand, is something we adults seem to rarely exhibit in our own lives.
As we grow older, we tend to mistake knowledge for wisdom. The more we know, (or think we know) the more we tend to be skeptical and doubting. We lose that innocent faith in others we once had way back in our own childhood. Whenever people disappoint you, and theories bombard you, the temptation is to stop placing full confidence in God.
Adam and Eve were tempted to drift away from that place of childlike faith in God, and they decided to follow that spirit for awhile. What about you? Do you often find yourself "happy in the Lord" because you know you can trust Him in all things? Or do you find yourself to be more of "grumpy goose" and a critic when it comes to the Lord and the Bible? If so, where did you lose your way?
You may say, "Dan, I have never found my way. That is, I have never trusted in God for anything, let alone salvation." That is fair enough, if that is your situation. It's honest. It's real. It's part of who you are today. But it is not necessarily who you will be next month or next year. It all depends on your willingness, or refusal, to "become like a child" again.
Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 18:2) Just stop and consider what Jesus was saying there. How do little children tend to view what their parents tell them? Do they receive it with simple faith, or with skepticism? Unless they have become jaded due to unloving behavior directed at them, they almost always embrace what they are being told as the truth. After all, why should they doubt the words of those who love them?
You may feel like your reasons to reject the Bible are justified, but it only takes one reason to start believing it and allow it to transform your heart. The love of God changes everything. Once you accept the fact that God loves you, you are getting close to that place where you can begin to live with childlike faith, hope and trust. It truly is a wonderful way to live.
Since God tells us in His Word that He lovingly sent His only Son to die for our sins, there is no good reason to doubt it. You may have become convinced that you should doubt it, but consider who convinced you. It was doubters who did it. They are good at leading others into a place of doubt by their words or their behavior. While it is true that Christians too have doubts at times, it is also true that childlike faith is not consistent with doubt. Innocent children are living "above doubt" as they simply express childlike faith in what their parents tell them.
So is God your heavenly Father, or are you still outside of His family? Until you enter that relationship with the Father through faith in Christ, your heart will likely remain hard toward God. The only message that can make your heart soft toward God is the Gospel message of salvation through Christ alone. And the only way to accept it is with childlike faith. In other words, before you even become one of God's children, it is necessary to place faith in Him. As you do, you enter into His family. Then He fills you daily with the faith which you will need to trust Him in all things, and not only for going to heaven one day.
This walk of faith is fluid. Some days are more childlike than others. As Christians, we still struggle with our human tendency to believe only what we see. That tendency is something everyone battles, whether you are in God's family or not. It is part of the human condition. It is what it is. And God is who He is. Aren't you glad that God's love and His character don't change just because our circumstances do?
The path to a relationship with Christ is to surrender your life to His Lordship, and to trust in His death on the cross as the payment for your sins. And the path to a peace-filled Christian life is to live each day with childlike faith. I was reminded of that reality again last night as I visited with a couple at the hospital. He is preparing to start his next round of chemo, and is scheduled to have a bone marrow transplant next week. With genuine peace in their hearts and smiles on their faces, (along with tears of joy and faith as we prayed) they said they are living one day at time and finding much peace on the journey. That was apparent. It wasn't natural. It was something different than this world can offer. It was the supernatural peace of God which flows within the heart of a believer who is living with childlike faith. I felt like I was talking to two faith-filled children last night in that hospital room.
Interestingly, I had just come from another hospital where a 2-year old girl from our church is being treated for a foot infection. It was so precious to watch her and listen to her words to her mom and dad. Those tender words spoken from a little child's heart were a powerful demonstration of love and trust.
If only we adults could live that way everyday with God. Perhaps we can. But only if we are willing to listen and learn from the little children among us.