A Child-Like Faith

November 26, 2008

One of Christians’ favorite pictures of Jesus is him welcoming the children to him. Usually he’s depicted down on one knee, in a big side hug with three or four kids.

Then he side-hugged the children, and blessed them.

This image (and others) is where we seem to derive the notion of an adult having a ‘child like’ faith. We ‘recieve the kingdom like little children.’

The way I see this idea work out today this: An adult has been going to church for a number of years. Perhaps they know a bit of their Bible, but maybe they don’t understand quite a bit of what it says. But they have latched onto that phrase ‘recieving me like a child.’ So when asked why they believe what they do, they just kind of whimsically answer that they ‘just do.’ They just believe, and don’t need to ask why. God made it so, and that’s good enough for them.

Maybe it’s because the scientific community is constantly barraging the church with new ‘evidence’ that undermines the Bible. Perhaps the constant attacks from secular society that scripture is ‘backwards,’ or ‘unenlightened,’ or counter to all good science. So Christians, it must follow, are either completely insane, or have chosen to just ignore all the ‘proven’ inconsistencies and just not ask questions.

So Christians buy into this, and feel that their Bible is so fragile that they cannot ask questions. They become ‘kool-aid drinkers’ just like the world says they are anyway. Better to not ask questions, and just take it on faith, like a little child. God will work it all out anyway.

Problem is that this is a completely insane frame of mind.

Have you ever met a child that did not ask questions? No. If you did, you would think something was wrong with the child. Haven’t you ever gotten stuck in a cycle of ‘why’ questions with a child?

Was the first commandment really, ‘Okay, everyone shut up. I’m God, you’re not, so no questions. Everyone take a seat and pay attention.’ Did Jesus tell the disciples to pipe down and stop asking questions when they did not understand a parable?

I’ve got to think that as Jesus is standing there with the Pharisees who are challenging him and looking down their noses, he catches sight of a bunch of kids playing ultimate frisbee, and he would just rather be with those kids! So he calls them over. Don’t you think those kids might have asked Jesus a few questions?

Of course they did. Kids are innately curious. Those children were bold enough to approach Jesus because he was new, he was curious. They wanted to know. But their questions were completely different from the Pharisees’ questions. Whereas the adults questioned Jesus with an air of superiority and skepticism, the children asked with genuine wonder and desire to know.

That’s what it means to have a child-like faith. To have a real desire to know. To ask questions every day of your God. To sit at his feet and learn. That doesn’t mean God will tell you everything. Did your parents tell you everything when you were little? If they did, they weren’t good parents, for there is some knowledge that is too heavy for children. Part of being a good child of God is asking the question, then accepting the answer, or lack thereof.

But when we don’t ask questions, it insults God and his Word. It implies that questions cannot be answered. It implies that you can stump God. You can’t stump him. You can’t think of a question that he hasn’t anticipated.

A real child like faith is one that asks questions all the time. Perhaps it is the kind of faith God wants, because part of what he wants to do, that he doesn’t get to do enough of is answer questions!