Monday, August 8, 2011

Faith of a Child

At a small group meeting, the leader read an intriguing quote by Francois Fenelon, a French theologian, poet and writer of the late 17th and early 18th centuries. In his book, Let Go, Fenelon observes: “Faith seeks God alone.”

As the discussion continued, I pondered that statement. I’ve read many definitions of faith, but Fenelon’s seemed particularly accurate.

With two infant grandsons in our family, I’ve watched them exhibit a definitive kind of faith. Their faith, however, is centered on parents, particularly their moms who are their primary caregivers.

In Matthew 18:3, Jesus stated, “…unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” At first glance that declaration doesn’t seem particularly “sophisticated,” that is unless you’ve watch babies and little kids for a while. Then it makes sense.

These little boys, Maclane and Bryce, have simple faith. They don’t spend time trying to figure out whether mom and dad have enough money to buy their formula, diapers and seasonal clothing. They don’t worry about whether they will respond to their cries for help – which happens a lot! They simply trust, looking to their parents for love and care, knowing they will do whatever is necessary, whenever it’s necessary.

As we “mature” we make things more complicated. If there is a God, we reason, how can we be certain He’ll come through when needed? How can He possibly resolve a problem as complex as the one we’re facing? With all that’s going on around the world, how can God even keep track of what’s happening in my life? And without clear answers, we sometimes look elsewhere.

Our questions are endless. But that’s probably why Jesus was so emphatic about having the faith of a child. Hebrews 11:1 says, “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” For the little fellows in our family, their faith and trust in mom and dad have substance; even though they don’t know what their parents will do, they feel the "evidence" that they’ll be fed and cleaned up, put to bed and picked up and hugged when they need it. They’re not troubled by doubt. They don't seek alternatives.

Wouldn’t it be great to have a spiritual faith like that?

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