Posted by: bellissimanh | October 15, 2009

Little Tykes & Bright Lights

Like many families in the area, we recently enjoyed some outings to the Fryeburg Fair. It comes to town once a year, and let me tell you, it is a big to-do! We all have our own reasons for loving the fair. The kids love the Midway, with all the rides and carnival games. Joel and I both love the food (of course), and we were blessed this year to get a day just for the two of us to go, walk the fair and enjoy each other’s company… along with many of the barns and exhibits that the children don’t particularly care about anymore. It was a wonderful day!

As we passed by a few of the rides (we avoid those at all costs, being older and less adventurous), I noticed something. Many of the lights on the rides were burnt out. They seemed rundown and shabby… not anything at all like what I remember as a child. I remember the excitement that just the sight of those cars all lit up brought. I could practically feel my heart racing as I thought back to waiting in line for my turn. It was a once-a-year spectacular event… and I couldn’t wait for it!

It occurs to me that the mechanical rides were probably just as dilapidated and rundown when I was little, but my perspective was completely different. I saw it through the wonder-struck eyes of a child, instead of the skeptical, critical eyes of a mature woman (one with babies to keep safe, I might add).

“Then they brought little children to Him, that He might touch them; but the disciples rebuked those who brought them.  But when Jesus saw it, He was greatly displeased and said to them, ‘Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God. Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.’  And He took them up in His arms, laid His hands on them, and blessed them.” Mark 10:13-16

Child-like faith. It’s no wonder we become disillusioned with our walk with the Lord from time to time. As we “grow up” in our faith, sometimes we can lose that sense of excitement that we had when our faith was brand new. Jesus tells us we are to come as little children. What does that look like?

1. Children are filled with wonder. They are filled with hope. As a little girl, I didn’t see the burnt out bulbs on the bumper cars, because my eyes were trained on the ones that DID sparkle. I marveled over the tiniest things. I expected GOOD things. So when did this cynicism creep in?

If I’m to have the faith Jesus spoke of in Mark 10, I need to follow the advice given in Philippians 4:8 – “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.” As I meditate on THESE things, perhaps my tendency to look at things from a negative perspective will diminish. My skepticism and critical attitude will be replaced by awe and wonder at the hand of God in my life, and I will find myself engaging in thanksgiving and praise, rather than complaining despair.

2. Children are honest. Kids don’t put on airs or pretend to be something they’re not, and most times (often at seemingly inopportune times and to the chagrin of their parents), they tell it like it is. Did you know that at the root of the word “confess” in Greek [homologeo] literally means “to say the same as”? Child-like faith includes a spirit of confession… of telling it like it is. If I’m to truly come to Christ as He would have me, I need to start being honest about the sin in my life. I need to see my sin as He sees it, agree that I’m guilty, and repent of it.

1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” It’s interesting to note that in the Greek, the word “confess” here is present tense. That means it’s not just a one time thing, but it’s a continual practice. And you know what? There are times that a blanket “forgive me for falling short” doesn’t cut it. If I’m going to truly repent of the sin in my life, I need to get real with the Lord and name it. “Father, I’m so sorry for bearing this grudge against my sister. Please forgive me and teach me how to move forward in love.” You can fill in the blank with anything you like… but I think it’s truly important to get specific when we’re seeking to be changed. “Help me be better” doesn’t give me any direction for how to go about turning from my sin to the Lord… but “help me let go of the bitterness I have in my heart over this particular situation” is going to focus my prayers, and also make me more attentive to the Spirit’s leading in that area. The kind of faith I’m seeking is one that holds nothing back when it’s time to ‘fess up.

3. Children are trusting. I have vivid memories of sitting in front of my Dad’s tape deck when I was 6 or 7 years old, listening to old recordings of Bill & Gloria Gaither (ok, I’m dating myself here). My parents loved the Gaithers, and we spent many hours with them and their music. It makes me smile to tell you this, but I thought my parents were close personal friends of the Gaithers. I was convinced of it. The way they talked about them made it sound as though we were all practically family. Although in a spiritual sense we are, I chuckle now as I think back over being confused at a concert that my parents didn’t want to go for coffee with Bill & Gloria once the stadium emptied. See, if I hadn’t been taught that it was the Father Himself who hung the moon, I’d have told you my Dad did it. I believed everything he said. I trusted him completely.  Children are like that. They trust. They believe.

How my Father’s heart must break sometimes when I lay my circumstances at His feet, and then quickly snatch them back up again as if He can’t possibly handle things the way I need Him to. He has given me assurance after assurance through the scriptures, and yet I still struggle with complete surrender to Him. He has proven Himself to be faithful time and time again, but my stubborn heart and foolish pride so often refuses to take Him at His Word. Oh to have the trusting heart of a child who knows, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that her Daddy DID hang the moon and is more than able to lovingly tend to her. “Now all glory to God, who is able, through His mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” (Ephesians 3:20)

So often I fear that my faith is more childish than child-like. But by His grace, He is cultivating in me, the heart of a daughter who’s eyes are fixed on the good stuff, who is straight up honest about the sin in her life and intent on turning from it, and who is leaning on the everlasting arms with all her weight, fully confident of her Father’s ability to finish the work He’s begun in her, and to work all things for her good and His glory. As I see that fleshed out in my walk, more and more every day, the sparkle of this life in Christ is increasing. The more I learn of Him, the more in awe I am of how very great He is, and how very small I am. And this ride beats anything the fair has to offer!

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Responses

  1. What imagery that came to mind as I read this! I was just beginning my morning activities, getting ready, etc. And I prayed silently, Lord, give me childlike faith. I want it back. After just having read the story of Deborah, Faith was on my mind. But I realize completely I have the eyes of a grown up. I see the fair for what it is (at least in our parts-its so trashy!) but.. I dont want to take the wonder from my children, I want them to experience the wonder and magic of life. So they have something to remember when their childlike eyes grow dim. Ignite us up, Lord. For your cause. Give us eyes of a child.
    love you, s

  2. Heather,

    You have no idea how the Lord used your precious comment on my blog to encourage me today. The Lord and I are wrestling something out. Well, actually, I am wrestling and He is patiently waiting on me to GET IT!! Thank you for being used by Him to encourage me that He is working through me. Thank you so much.


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