Sunday, February 22, 2009

A Childlike Faith

I received an email the other day about Kevin. One night Kevin’s brother overheard him praying. As he prayed he asked “God, where are you? Oh, I see, you’re under the bed.” Kevin is a 6’2” thirty year old man, who due to difficulties during his birth, is mentally disabled. In his adult body lives the mind and functionality of a seven year old. He will never grow mentally beyond this level. But he has complete faith that God lives under his bed. In his childlike innocence, he has complete trust in God.

Kevin works at a workshop for the disabled. His daily life consists of getting up, taking a bus to work, performing simple tasks at work, coming home to walk the dog, eating dinner and going to bed. The only variations that occur in his routine are his weekly tasks of doing the laundry and vacuuming the carpet, and going out with his father on Saturdays. Life for Kevin is very simple. It consists of daily rituals and Saturday field trips. He happily accepts his life and is never discontented. He doesn’t worry about wealth or power or status. He’s not concerned with pride. He enjoys working, but is not obsessed with it. He is not striving to be upwardly mobile. He is transparent with his emotions and is sincere. He has a childlike trust in God. In this childlike faith, God – his best friend – lives under his bed.

Kevin’s brother, who has normal intelligence, observed that whereas he always thought of Kevin as being handicapped, perhaps he himself is the one who is really handicapped. Perhaps in God’s eyes Kevin is normal. Kevin’s brother reflected that he finds that his obligations, his pride, his fears and his circumstances become disabilities when they aren’t entrusted to God’s care. He worries about things Kevin never will. He seeks to control the situations around him – something that never even crosses Kevin’s mind. He doesn’t completely trust God like his brother does.

How unlike Kevin we are! We are often too much like his brother. We frequently live with discontent. We seek to have power and want to control things. We try to garner wealth. We are far from transparent, often hiding our true feelings. We are always trying to get ahead and obtain more. Oftentimes our jobs consume us. We worry about things instead of trusting them to God. We are anxious to know how things will turn out in the future. With our intelligence we rationalize away faith. In our sophistication we question God. We have a limited view of who God is. We feel that we must help God with things or they won’t work out right. We easily can become manipulative.

I wonder how much we handicap ourselves when we limit our trust in God. We are often more concerned about things than we are about trusting God with our lives. We end up with an inadequate view of who God is. We don’t see him as strong enough to be trustworthy. We have lost the innocence of a childlike faith. We have lost the pure faith that Kevin has in God. Maybe this is why Jesus said “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 16:3). He calls us to have that innocent, trusting faith that little children so easily have. By the way, how strong is your faith? Is it as strong as Kevin’s? Or do you have his brother’s handicap?

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