People generally won’t argue that times were simpler when our day revolved around recess and snack time. There was a sense of eager joy in knowing that no matter how primitive our drawing or painting was- it would find itself displayed on a wall or household surface.
Truth be told, I actually excelled in mixed medium, 3D portrait realism at an early age. What I mean is, I would get bored with a crayon- and switch to watercolor paint while drawing stick figures of my kindergarten pals. How is that 3D? WARNING - shameless vulnerability ahead. Boogers. My creations would somehow end up with boogers on them. Put the gavel down. Let he who is without sin pick and flick the first nose stone.
Sometimes a kid produces some pretty un-pretty art- but that hardly ever stops them from letting their blossoming brain loose on construction paper. There is a confidence a child has in their actions, and I don’t believe it has to do with competence or ability. In fact, still to this day the only thing I can do is draw stick figures or doodle cubes; excessively (it’s weird). My notebooks are bangled with cubes.
I believe the confidence yielded by a child is a deeply rooted peace inside that reminds them no matter what … their dad can beat up everyone else’s dad; but more importantly- they will be there for them. We can envision that reality because it’s the ideal relationship, right? Even for myself, despite never having a father figure as a child, can see and grasp the beauty in such a confidence.
That’s one of the things I love about the Bible. It’s God’s story of redemption- returning humanity to the ideal state of living; In eternal and intimate relationship with God as our creator and Heavenly Father. The Bible paints the optimal picture of humanity and God living blissfully in a paradise of beauty and abundance in the beginning.
*If this were a stage production - insert SINTERMISSION here*
The Bible covers thousands of years worth of heartache and brokenness as we flail about like toddlers in a tantrum, unable to recover right relationship with God. It reveals God’s love for us as a Father set on reconciling His children to Him; spelling out the one and only way to do that. Hint- it’s Jesus (John 14.6). It resolves with God’s promises as a loving Father being fulfilled as we are ultimately restored to the ideal state; intimate and eternal life with the God of the universe. Take a moment and let that sink in.
With the Bible as our standard - setting the standard for the relationship between God the Father and us as His beloved sons and daughters - we are able to see the beauty in the idea of childlikeness as it relates to our faith.
I want to be clear here. Childlikeness IS NOT the same as childishness. We can’t use the call to childlikeness as an excuse to indulge childishness. Childish faith throws one to the ground in prideful protest to the Word of God. Childlike faith brings one to their knees in humble submission to the Word of God.
Childlikeness of faith is not a license to withdraw or refuse to learn and grow our roots deeper in God’s Word. Children have a charming curiosity about them and they seldom relent from asking questions.
“Why? Why? Why? Are we there yet? Why? Are we there yet? I have to go to the bathroom. I’m hungry. Why not? Why? Are we there yet?”
Anyone having spent even five minutes with a child knows this could easily join Newton’s Laws of science. We can and should seek and ask the Lord to reveal more of Himself to us. Childishness of faith however- seemingly serves many as a permit to bypass the responses given by God.
Ever watch a kid taunt, tease, haze or pick on another kid?
“Stop hitting me.” Says one child. Meanwhile, the perpetrator mockingly orbits the other child’s face and space with a series of sporadic and irreverently charged jabs, jeering
“I’m not hitting you. I’m not hitting you.”
The focus of the childish bully is on persisting through rebellion with disregard to the response given. If their focus and attention was on the one speaking to them, and not what they wanted - their response would look drastically different.
Driving it home- think of the way a child reaches for their mother or father’s hand when crossing a street or parking lot. Sometimes without saying a word- a mother or a father will hold their hand out, and the child knows they can and should cling to it; they don’t question it or think twice. It’s a child who runs into the arms of their mom or dad on a couch/chair and curls up in the safety and security of their embrace. It doesn’t change what happened that day - but it assures that child they are loved and they can rely on their parent to be with them.
In Psalm 131:2, King David writes “Surely I have composed and quieted my soul; Like a weaned child rests against his mother, My soul is like a weaned child within me.” The imagery here is amazing. A weaned child indicates they are not a nursing child. A baby or an infant cries when in need and has to be nursed to be quieted and composed. What David is saying here is that like a grown child, He chooses to find peace for his soul in the arms of God. It’s not the instinctive default of an infant. It’s a choice; A childlike trust that in the arms of our Heavenly Father - is where we ought to be.
That is what it is to be childlike in our faith. Do we trust instinctively enough to cling to God no matter the circumstances? Our Heavenly Father reigns supreme. He is the Lord of Lords and King of Kings. He absolutely can and will triumph over every enemy including death (1 Corinthians 15:6). As we grow older- we are hurt by the forces in this world and by people and by sin - and sometimes we transfer this hurt and pain to God; making it feel more difficult to TRUST Him. The thing we have to remember is that people are not God. If someone knowingly charged something to our Visa or MasterCard, we would call the credit bureau immediately and report identity theft. Don’t charge the hurts or pains we have experienced at the hands of people or sin/brokenness to God’s account.
We are flawed and broken and full of hurt and pain and sin and brokenness - and in order to redeem us to the ideal - God and humanity in eternal and intimate relationship- He put all of that on His son Jesus Christ and had Him crucified as the perfect and blameless sacrifice. So every ounce of our Spiritual debt to God as humans, falling short of God’s Glory (Romans 3.23)- has been put to death. So my question is- has God not demonstrated His comprehensive and exhaustive love for us? Why do we let someone else’s actions tarnish God’s perfect and faithful trustworthiness?
Let us move forward with childlike faith - and not childish faith.