My seven-year-old daughter has this habit of standing on the bed when I am about to walk past and jumping off onto my back or into my arms. She does this fully expecting that I'm going to catch her whether or not I invited the jump. Whether or not I gave any indication that I even saw her, she one hundred percent expects to land in my arms and so she continues to leave the safety of solid ground or a soft mattress, propels herself into the air knowing that she will always have a safe place to land.
That is called faith.
It takes a great amount of faith to put yourself in a position where you could sustain serious physical injury and still go ahead and do it because you have unwavering belief in the willingness and ability of another person to ensure that no harm befalls you.
There is a great deal that we can learn from children. From their innocent outlook on life before the world corrupts it, the simplicity with which they sometimes view things, their ability to love and not take themselves too seriously to a host of other things.
When I think of how my own child, who is fully aware that I am human, with limitations and imperfections, has complete faith in my ability to protect her and ensure her safety it fills me with awe and humility but it also puts into perspective the faith that God has earned and requires from us.
I love my daughter, I love her more than my life and would do just about anything to protect her, up to and including trading my life for hers. But the problem in this scenario is that I don’t have the complete ability to keep her safe, I cannot put a word out into the atmosphere and every single thing in the universe obeys just because I said it. So, while I may have one hundred percent willingness, I just don’t have one hundred percent ability. That is because there is only one Omnipotent, Omnipresent and Omniscient God who is not only willing but completely able to protect and provide, comfort, and heal, and do exceedingly and abundantly.
So, when God says, “trust me”, He’s not just talking about some blind faith where we believe him just because. He’s expecting us to put our faith in His track record, in His unfailing love, in his mercies which are new every morning, in his mighty power. He’s urging us to put our faith in His inability to fail or lie, in the fact that He honours His word above His name, so we are assured that what He says He is going to do - He can do and will do.
That is reassuring. And learning from the example set by children is an excellent way to ensure that we are effectively carrying out the mandate given to us as children of God because as Hebrews chapter 11 verse 6 reminds us “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him”
Humble like a child
Another lesson that I have learned from my interactions with my daughter is humility. I am always amazed at her response when she does something wrong, and I scold her, and she comes back to me and says things like: -
“Mommy are you mad?”
“I’m sorry mommy”
“I didn’t mean to hurt your feelings”
“I won’t do it again”
Recently I’ve started to think about my own response when I know I’ve sinned against God and realized that I could take another page from her book. How much time have you wasted wallowing in your sin and shame when you know you have disobeyed God because of pride and fear? God has communicated to us in 1 John chapter 1 verse 9 that “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
What this should mean to us is that when we fail, as we inevitably will, we ought to make short work of sin. What I mean by this is that instead of beating up yourself, staying far and sometimes ending up straying even farther from God, what you should do is to go to Him, secure in the knowledge that He loves you regardless and will see you through the eyes of mercy and do as He promised, and receive the grace that He freely gives right away. At the end of the day there is no going around it so why waste time prolonging the inevitable?
Become like children
When Jesus said in St Matthew chapter 18 verse 3 “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven” this is a part of what he was referring to.
I know that as much as I love my child, I can never love her as much as God loves me. And if my daughter at her young age can be aware that even when she messes up she still has my love, that even when I just handed out the punishment, I’ll be there at bedtime to give her hugs and kisses and remind her of my love for her and that I want only the best for her, why then should I be hiding from my Father at the time when I need his love the most?
Why should you spend days, months or even years in your stubbornness and pride instead of going “…boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” as we are encouraged to do in Hebrews chapter 4 verse 16?
I am challenging every person who is reading this article to make a conscious effort to “become like little children” in your interactions with God. Be like that toddler who is secure in the knowledge that when daddy throws him in the air, he is going to catch him, so he lets go and laughs.
Trust and believe that when you are standing at the edge of that cliff of uncertainty and God tells you to take a leap of faith, He will either catch you or give you the ability to fly.
Natasha Young is an accountant and mother of one from the land of wood and water (Jamaica) in the West Indies who feels like she has missed her true calling which was to have become a teacher, or writer/director (or all of the above!). She is the only person she knows who works with numbers everyday but had English as a favourite subject in school. The most used app on her phone is Kindle so you know what that means. She is a lover of music and can oftentimes be heard belting on the top of her voice even though singing is not a talent of hers. But ultimately, she is just a sinner saved by grace who believes we all have a responsibility to use our gifts for the growth of God’s people and His glory.