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19 Jun '13

The faith of a child

Posted by T.J. Addington in children, faith
It was about 25 years ago and Yellowstone National Forest had been burning for months leaving vast tracts of land barren and charred. My son and I were driving in Northern Minnesota and he was agonizing over that fire. Suddenly he folded his little hands squeezed shut his eyes and prayed, "Jesus would you stop the fire?" That night it snowed in Yellowstone and the fire was extinguished.

Coincidence? I won't attempt to answer that question but Jon knew in his heart that God could do anything He chose to do and in his innocence and faith he simply asked God to stop this enormous fire and God did.

Jesus loved the faith of children because it is so simple compared to the sophisticated faith of adults - so sophisticated that we often do not believe that God could or would do those things that we might ask for. Our innocence and simple faith has been lost, replaced by our complex ideas of who God is and how He acts. And as a result our prayers are often prayers of greater unbelief (He won't answer this) than they are prayer of simple faith and belief.

When at about four I invited Jesus to come into my heart and forgive my sin, I had no doubts that He had done just that. When I prayed for his help I knew that He would help. In my innocence I simply believed promises I knew to be true and that He was who He said He was. It was a wonderful, simple, profound, faith unclouded by doubts and all my rationalist thinking.

Jesus said, "Unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 18:3). He desires that our faith be simple and profound, simply believing His promises and His forgiveness and His presence.

As a theologian, I know many nuances of theology. As a follower of Jesus I desire to have the innocent, simple, profound, believing faith of a child. These are not antithetical to one another. In fact, they are the trust of a child to a father.