by Garry Bouwman
Little children have this wonderful ability, through their actions and words, that allows us adults to peek back in time and re-experience pure innocence. I had such an experience just a short while ago.
I’m blessed to be able to see my 4 year old grandson Spencer most mornings before I go to work. My wife watches him during the day and he gets there early enough that he comes and rousts me out of bed.
This particular morning Spencer came in and talked with me for a few moments and then decided that he would wait for me in the living room while I got ready for work. He closed the door behind him and then almost immediately reentered the room and said he needed a big hug.
“Spencer you have my heart “, I said as we hugged.
“No Grandpa, I already have one, and it’s this big.”, he said holding two fingers about half an inch apart.
I looked at him and said. “Spencer, your heart is much, much bigger than that.” Of course I confused him because I wasn’t speaking in terms of size but rather in terms of the amount of love in his heart. He just looked at me funny, smiled, and went to watch Spongebob.
I found myself in awe of that child’s innocence and love, and I began to wonder about something. At what point in time did I lose my childlike faith? How is it that I find it so difficult to live and love like that? I thought about it for a couple of days and basically came up empty, except for the usual “Sunday school” answers.
Then, because I serve a faithful and mysterious God, I got my answer from an unusual source. I love to read epic fantasy such as Lord of the Rings, and I had just started a new novel when I read something that struck me as a possible answer to my question. Here is what I read:
“When we are children we seldom think of the future. This innocence leaves us free to enjoy ourselves as few adults can. The day we fret about the future is the day we leave our childhood behind”.
Patrick Rothfuss – The Name of the Wind (emphasis mine)
Thank you Lord! That was the answer! Spencer has little or no concept of the future yet, the decisions he’ll have to make, the problems he’ll have to solve, or anything else that is yet to come. He is living and loving in the here and now, moment by moment. I was so stoked to have an answer to my question! God is so good!
But (and there always is one, isn’t there?), I also realized the ominous overtones of what I just read as well. There will come a day, and it will come sooner than any of us would like, that Spencer, my other grandson Shane, and every child like them will realize that there is a future to deal with. At that point, their childhood begins to slip away. I am struggling not to cry as I write this because I wish there was a way I could keep that from happening. But I cannot.
However, there is something I can do, and that is to help them deal with it. I need to show them Jesus, and share with them what He says in His love letter to us.
God talks to us about having a child-like faith.
He also tells us not to worry about the future.
I don’t know about you, but I had never tied these two passages together before. It makes perfect sense however. Not worrying about the future IS childlike faith.
I find it hard to not worry about the future given this insane world in which we live. However, it would be impossible if it were not for my faith in God. Knowing that He is control is a great comfort in the midst of everything. This is the way I need to live each day. This is what I need to teach my grandsons.
Thank you Lord, for teaching me about faith and innocence. Simply because I grew up, I have lost that childlike innocence. But that doesn’t mean I have to lose my childlike faith. I’m asking you to help me get it back. Help me to trust you and know that you are a sovereign God and that you hold the future in your hands.
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