“…unless you are converted and become like children,
you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven.”
Matthew 18:3 (NIV)
All of us have been children at one time. However, as adults, we often need little children around us to remember what life was like then. As we watch how children behave we can see in them a faith that is complete and beautiful.
In western society we see that little children do not tend to worry about where their food or clothes will come from. Small children simply trust that their parents will see to their needs. They are far too busy playing to bother about food and shelter.
The faith of a child is full and robust. They are absolutely certain that mommy and daddy will take care of them and so there is no need for them to be concerned. Doubts about their parents’ ability to make provision has no place in their thinking. They unconsciously accept the fact they have needs they cannot meet and pass the work on to their parents.
Only when we grow up and start providing for ourselves do we find ourselves wondering about such things as where we will find a job, will we have enough money to pay the bills at the end of the month, etc. These concerns creep in and cause our faith in the Lord to waver and weaken.
Jesus tells us that we need to learn from children how to trust so completely that doubts and concerns vanish and don’t trouble us any more. However even though Jesus has told us to learn from children, we can still find ourselves upset over the troubles that come our way in life.
What is the solution to our difficulty in finding the simple faith of a child? What needs to happen in order for us to be converted and become like children? Sadly there is bad news before the good news.
What needs to happen is for something to come along to take away our faith in ourselves. We require situations too complex for us to solve to enter our lives. It may be something like health issues the doctor can’t remedy, death of a loved one, financial crisis, loss of a job, or collapse of a marriage.
Clearly for some of us at least, if we are to receive the good that God has for us something must happen to remove our self confidence. An issue must arise on our horizon to remove our ability to care for ourselves in some area of life.
This is what I mean by a bad thing being good for us. The Psalmist in Psalm 119:71 said that it was good for him to be afflicted in order for him to learn the ways of the Lord. When things were going well he relied on himself but when affliction came he realized his need for the Lord.
We also need to remember what James teaches:
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,
whenever you face trials of many kinds,
because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.
Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete,
not lacking anything.” (James 1:2-4 NIV).
Can you look at the difficulty you have today and use it as a stepping stone to come close to your Father in heaven? Do you need the simple faith of a child who trusts their parents without any reserve? Use your problem for good. Make it the thing that pushes you into the loving arms of the Lord today.