Monday, January 4, 2016

A Childlike Faith

1/4/16--- Happy New Year!

“Truly I say to you, if you do not turn and become as little children, you will not enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.  For whoever humbles himself as this little child, he is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven…”     Matthew 18: 3-4

   Faith is one of the most important things anyone can have.  It takes us to places we never think are  possible, and it’s by trusting and believing in something higher than ourselves that we are able to let go of the limitations of our mind’s eye and see what happens.  Faith is like an unopened gift given to us by our best friend.  We wonder what’s inside the package, and though we can only guess at what we’ll get once we open it, the wait is well worth it. Faith produces expectation, and like at Christmas time when children open presents knowing they’ll be happy with their newest toys and treasures, those with persistent faith know they are in for a nice surprise too, and the great thing about faith is even a small amount of it goes a long way (NIV, Luke 17:6).

   God wants us to be like children when we come to Him (Matt. 18: 3-4). Children accept a loving parent’s words without a doubt because they are young enough to still be innocent. They speak from a heart that isn’t jaded by the world’s lessons yet.  As we age, our views about what to expect in life becomes more tainted with every disappointment, loss, or betrayal we experience.  Slowly, over time we forget how to be like children.  We forget the comfort of knowing everything will be okay and work out for us.  It isn’t until we learn about Who God really is and what He offers us that we are able to revert back to having the faith of a child.

   Unfortunately, there are those who have gone through a childhood where they never experienced the feelings trusted parents or family members should have offered.  For some, life gave them a crash course in disappointment and pain, and having faith in God becomes so much harder when bitter memories are cemented deep inside, glued to the pain that put them there.  It’s never easy to let those memories go.  It’s so much harder to break through to faith’s freedom when an anchor of past disappointments has consistently weighed a person down.  Even the good things that happen create a mistrust in the person’s thoughts because they are always thinking something bad is coming for them around the corner.

   The Bible tells us that “without faith it is impossible to please God” (Hebrews 11:6).  If we don’t trust that He is there listening and is always ready to answer our prayers, then we are essentially bouncing our wishes off unhearing walls. That just doesn’t make any sense. The good news is that God does hear us, and the world opens up for someone who has faith in God.  Without faith, our world is so small, and our perceptions of what defines freedom learned by trust is sorely lacking. This lends a darkened view to our minds and beliefs, places that were never meant to be dark in the first place.  Just because our belief may be lacking, perhaps due to growing up in a place that didn’t know God for Who He is, doesn’t mean we have to stay in that place of unbelief. Things can get better!

   Jesus Christ, through His sacrifice on the cross, has given us the power to take back all that we have lost.  Jesus is not just some guy from long ago in history Who lived and died the way a normal person did.  Instead, He is the Son of God, a force to be reckoned with, One that frees anyone who seeks the truth He offers.  I know.  I wallowed in loneliness, regret, and a secret pain I wouldn’t share with anyone, until I met Jesus.  By setting aside behaviors that were killing me in more ways than one and asking Him to take over as the Savior I so desperately needed to heal the many broken parts of my psyche, I have not regretted inviting Him into my life even once.  I had to have faith in Someone higher than me, though at the time I didn’t even truly know the meaning of the word 'faith'. I grew up scared out of my mind half the time that I’d do something that would give away the fact that I wasn’t perfect.  I didn’t want to show anyone the side of me that they didn’t need to see.  I didn’t want anyone to know I secretly hated men, and at first it wasn’t even something I’d admit to the Lord.  But He healed me of that pain and so many other issues I’ve carried with me over the years so that now I can say I honestly don’t hate men anymore.  Instead, I try to understand where everyone comes from, what makes them who they are.  I think that is the biggest reason why I chose to go into Psychology, to help me understand human nature in its rawest form.

   Without childlike faith we are unable to let go of all the reasons we shouldn’t trust, reasons that could then float off into the wind.  It feels so good to let go of the past.  I’m not saying it’s all roses and sunshine, but it has been so worth the time it takes to give it to the Person Who knows me inside and out and Who teaches me more about myself each day.  I have even learned to have faith in myself, and believe me when I say that is so rewarding!  Tears come to my eyes just thinking about all the things I have worked through with the Lord, and I know for a fact that if I hadn’t taken that step of faith from my heart to reach out to Jesus, that most likely I’d be in a horrible place in my life right now engorging myself on anything I’d assume would offer me a taste of fulfillment, however temporary.  But I want what lasts.  The Lord has held me in His arms through the pain of different types of past abuse, and issues of abandonment from a man I thought wanted to be my dad, and crippling depression, just to name a few issues.  But, none of that matters now.  It is through faith I know I have a Father Who will never leave me (Deuteronomy 31:8), and to be accepted for exactly who I am is the greatest comfort I will ever know. 

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