“I’m getting a new friend tomorrow!”
This was the announcement my 5-year-old daughter had for me when I picked her up from kindergarten. She was absolutely sure she would have a new friend coming. This was kind of mystifying for me, for while I am aware that little kids make friends with an ease that adults can only envy, to be so sure a new friend was coming seemed another level. It was only after some follow up questions that the truth was revealed. My daughter’s teacher was informing the class that they would have a new student joining them the next day. And as kindergarten teachers will, she used the language of a new friend joining their class.
But this was not just fun language to my daughter. If the teacher said there would be a new friend, then there would be a new friend. My daughter had faith in what her teacher said. She believed with conviction, and so loudly and proudly proclaimed to me that she would have a new friend arriving the next day. She had faith like only a child could.
Jesus spoke on several occasions about having a child-like faith. We see Jesus correcting the disciples’ mindset about who would be the greatest in the kingdom by using a child as an illustration (Matthew 18:1-6). We see Jesus receiving children in Matthew 19 and blessing them and when the disciples try to stop these parents from bringing their kids to Jesus, he says, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” Jesus even calls for his disciples to have child-like faith in Mark 10:15, “Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” So what is this child like faith?
Faith like a child is a faith that believes because they trust. Like my daughter who believed she was getting a new friend because she trusted her teacher. We have child-like faith when we trust what Jesus says. When we trust the Word of God without asking endless questions or making countless caveats, we are experiencing child-like faith. The sad thing about growing up is experiencing people letting you down and realizing that things don’t always work out as you hoped or were promised. A level of cynicism creeps in and we start to doubt a little. We say things like “I believe… but.” Or we say we believe and trust but we are not shocked when it doesn’t happen.
Jesus is calling his disciples and us to have a faith that is sure and confident. A faith that leaves no room for doubt. A faith that hears the Word of God and is absolutely sure it is true. This is a faith that can carry us through the tough times of life. This is a faith that can withstand the storms of life. This is a faith that looks upon God as our good Father who is working all things for our sanctification and good. This is a faith that trusts.
So let’s practice a child-like faith. We can start easy by simply reading God’s Word and having the same conviction my daughter has when her teacher tells her something. This is true and I believe it.