Except you be Converted and become as Little Children..
There being a vast difference in the English language between childish and child-like, it is crucial to know the difference, for Jesus tells us that one of these attitudes is essential to entering His Kingdom. The power of the one attitude was engraved into my mind and heart in the most unlikely of situations.
Child-Like Faith re: Rewards: During our youngest granddaughter's fourth summer, we had promised her that we would take her to King's Island. We had shown her videos, she had seen the commercials, and we later found that she had talked excitedly to everyone about this pending excursion for weeks. We made a promise, and she never doubted that the word we had given her was “money in the bank”. She didn't have to worry about how we would find time in our busy schedules, she didn't comprehend nor care how much funding was needed, all she knew was that she was going to receive a promise given by her 'Granny and Pa”. An unusually pragmatic child, not given to excitability to the degree that is common in children her age, Mattie could hardly sleep the evening before our departure. After seeing this child's excitement and expectation, we understood that a demand and a commitment had been placed on us, powered and ensured by our love for this little one.
So then, given the knowledge that God loves us enough to allow His Firstborn Son to die on our behalf, why do we ever doubt His Promises? Not once did our granddaughter ever say to us, “I'm not worthy, I don't feel as if I deserve my promise.” She heard it, believed it, got excited about it, talked about it, planned for it, and then received it. So why do we forget that this God is real, His promises are certain? Why do we forget to get excited, we forget to talk about them, plan for them, and then receive them? A child does not concern themselves with the hows and whys, a child accepts and expects. This is one facet of becoming child-like.
We must first receive the promise and then consider it “money in the bank”, for without faith, it is impossible to please God. If a young child can put such trust in fallible grandparents, how much more so should we let God's promises become a present excitement because of the surety of manifestation in the future?
Child-Like Faith in re: Protection: The theme park is always a treat after sunset. The heat of the day has departed, the lights of every conceivable color and hue come to life and the smells of flora and fauna, incredible assortments of desserts, and the sounds of satisfied thrill-seekers fill the atmosphere with a palpable satisfaction. For some, it is the fulfillment of a day of fun, for many others, it is the knowledge that this day is nearly over.
As we strolled the midway, my granddaughter found the lights and colors of a particular ride irresistible and dragged me into the waiting line. It was one of the few rides outside of the kiddie section that she could ride, so off we went. All was well while we stood in line, all was good when the attendants locked us into our little capsule. The conversation between us was light and pleasant, discussing the colors of the lights, etc. The very first hint of catastrophe came as we reached the apex of the circuit. Close observation revealed that the little one had become very quiet and very tense as the inertia lifted her slightly from her seat. Two tears sprang out and coursed her cheeks.
I found this to be the most frightening point of the entire day for myself. This dear little one had suddenly become convinced that her life was in danger and I knew there was nothing I could do to protect this little one from this fear for at least three minutes, when the ride ended. As the little one stated in a shaky voice that she would never ride this ride again, I attempted to be casual and assuring, so I put my arm across her and gripped the handrail on her side. I quietly mentioned that I had felt the same way when I had earlier had a bout of insanity and boarded a ride that began by lifting me to a height of 375 feet before dropping me in free fall until the last few feet.
Upon hearing that I, too, had encountered a tangible fear and had obviously survived, she seemed to become calm. At this point, I had the privilege of witnessing a miracle. As I watched her face, I saw fear being replaced by a grim resolve. And I felt pride well up with a power that completely surprised me. I knew in my heart that I would never be able to accurately depict these series of events to the awaiting family, but I could not wait to try.
As we exited the ride and ran toward the benches where the family sat, I was yet again surprised, for the girl was bursting to tell the watchers a story. But it was not a story of her fear, nor of my obviously insightful prodding. Instead, she couldn’t wait to tell her elders of how she had discovered that she had learned to deal with fear. I was proud, and she was proud. And I again realized that, if we are watching with an open heart, the Lord God Jehovah will give us opportunities innumerable to learn of His nature, and even to learn about ourselves.
If we would learn anything from such situations, let it be this: When we face the difficulties and fears of life, why not trust the Words of Jesus, who took the time and trouble to offer the most sage advice available? If Jesus tells us to “Let not our hearts be troubled”, and when we finally learn to heed such advice, can you not imagine Him pointing to us and exclaiming to the Father with pride, “Look, Father! See how this one heard my Words and allowed his faith to rise! I believe this to be one of the pathways to achieving the goal that should be inherent in every human being, which is, to hear the Words of the Father proclaiming, “This is my beloved son/daughter, in whom I am well pleased”.