JUST USE YOUR CHILDLIKE FAITH
It was a lovely day in Chicago. Bob and I had gone downtown to meet our son, Tom, for lunch. He had flown in from Texas on business. Lunch was over, and Tom needed to go back to work. Bob and I were waiting for the valet to bring our car to the front of the hotel. I happened to glance around towards the door of the Palmer Hilton just as a nicely dressed young woman wheeled a man, I assumed was her husband, through the door in a wheelchair. The man had lost both of his legs at the knee.
A Vision from God
As if actually happening before my eyes, I had a vision of his legs growing back. Both of his legs beneath blue pants that had been hemmed to reach around the knee joints, just started stretching out. The missing length of his legs appeared and then his feet. The vision was unfolding fast, and man seemed to be watching as I was, in sincere amazement. It didn’t seem that it caused him any pain. His wife didn’t appear aware of what was happening. She was carefully maneuvering the wheelchair through the crowd of people walking up and down past the hotel.
Our car pulled up immediately after that, and I got in on the passenger side. As Bob slid into the driver’s side, all I could say was, “That was amazing!”
“What was amazing?” Bob asked. I told him what I had just seen in that vision. Neither of us said much after that. I think I was in shock and awe, and Bob was trying to absorb my words.
That was my first and only experience with an open vision, but the Bible lets us know they are real. There are eleven visions mentioned in the Bible, and the prophet Joel spoke of it happening in the last days in Joel 2:26-27. Dreams we all have had, but a vision while I was awake!?! That was a new thing. Let’s look at what Acts said that Joel spoke of regarding visions. We have to go to Acts chapter two.
Acts 2:15-21New International Version (NIV)
`` 15 These people are not drunk, as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning!
16 No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:
17 “‘In the last days, God says,
I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
your young men will see visions,
your old men will dream dreams.
18 Even on my servants, both men and women,
I will pour out my Spirit in those days,
and they will prophesy.
19 I will show wonders in the heavens above
and signs on the earth below,
blood and fire and billows of smoke.
20 The sun will be turned to darkness
and the moon to blood
before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord.
21 And everyone who calls
on the name of the Lord will be saved.’
I so didn’t expect a vision, and I don’t think we should expect it to be an ordinary occurrence. God can do anything He wants to do to speak to us. The Bible tells us everything we need to know. Showing me that vision really got my attention, and I remember it as if it happened today.
I thought about that for several days. Finally, I talked to God about it. This is exactly what I said to Him. “Lord, I am thrilled that You are going to create new limbs for those who have lost or never had them, for You know how thankful I have been most all of my life for my arms, legs, feet and hands. I’ve always been thanking You for them. I just really don’t think I am the one to work through. I don’t have that much faith.”
JUST USE YOUR CHILDLIKE FAITH
Immediately—and I mean immediately—I knew. Somehow, I just knew I was only to use my childlike faith. And just as quickly as I understood that, I understood and said, “OH! It will just happen! It will be fine!” And that settled it.
So, what exactly happened in the several days that I thought about that vision and finally told God that I just wasn’t the one, that I just didn’t have that much faith?
What I believe happened is that my adult faith (that’s what I’ll call it) factored in all the impossibilities that I could think of, totally forgetting that with God all things are possible. However, when I understood to just use my childlike faith, all that thinking I was doing about me, my limitations, the impossible medical restri1ctions—everything impossible about it was instantly gone.
GOD SPEAKS TO US
Let’s consider 1 Samuel 3: 8-9 (NIV)
8 A third time the Lord called, “Samuel!” And Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.”
Then Eli realized that the Lord was calling the boy. 9 So Eli told Samuel, “Go and lie down, and if he calls you, say, ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place.
Samuel is the son of Hannah. Hannah was happily married, but couldn’t conceive a child. She went to the temple and poured out her heart to God in prayer. Hannah even promised God that if He would give her a son, she would give him to the Lord for his ministry.
God did answer her prayer. Samuel is that son, and as promised, she gave him to Eli the priest to train him for the ministry -- probably between the ages of three and four. Hannah had more children the Bible tells us, but it lets us know that each year Hannah made a new priestly robe for her growing boy and took it to him. (1 Samuel 2:19)
One night while Samuel was sleeping, he heard his name called. Sure that it was Eli calling, Samuel went into his room asking what he needed. Eli told him that he hadn’t called him, to go back to bed. Samuel did go back to bed, but a second time he heard his name called. Once again he went into Eli’s room, and once again Eli sent him back to bed. It happened again. A third time Samuel heard his name, and a third time went to Eli. This time Eli realized that the Lord was calling for the boy. (verse 9). He told Samuel to lie down again, and if he heard his name a fourth time to say, “Speak Lord, for your servant is listening.”
When God calls your name four times, He really wants to speak to you. It took a while for Eli to realize what was going on, but when he did he taught the little boy how to hear from the Lord. God needed Samuel to take an important message to Eli.
Are we parents or grandparents teaching our children that God still speaks today? Perhaps Eli had not done so before that night for he thought Samuel was too young. God knows everything. God knew Samuel was ready, and He had quite a long, harsh message for the little boy to deliver to Eli.
Samuel heard his name that fourth time, and he said, “Speak Lord, for your servant is listening.” God then spoke to Samuel. Let’s listen in.
1 Samuel 3:10-13 (NIV)
10 The Lord came and stood there, calling as at the other times, “Samuel! Samuel!”
Then Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”
11 And the Lord said to Samuel: “See, I am about to do something in Israel that will make the ears of everyone who hears about it tingle. 12 At that time I will carry out against Eli everything I spoke against his family—from beginning to end.13 For I told him that I would judge his family forever because of the sin he knew about; his sons blasphemed God,[a] and he failed to restrain them.
God had already spoken to Eli about this. Eli’s own sons were rebels. It said they blasphemed God. In other words, they spoke irreverently about God and His ways. God told Eli to discipline them, but I guess he never did successfully. Therefore, God went through the little boy under Eli’s roof to deliver the message, the warning, once again.
Hebrews 13:8New International Version (NIV)
8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
makes me think. Has God been trying to tell me something that I haven’t done? Has God sent a child to deliver a message to me? I guess we had better be alert, for the Lord is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
WHY DOES GOD REQUIRE FAITH?
The Bible tells us our faith is enormously important to God. Why is this so? Ephesians 2:8 is a huge reason.
Ephesians 2:8-9 New International Version (NIV)
8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—9 not by works, so that no one can boast.
To be saved means that by believing that Jesus died for our sins on the cross, we are rescued from God’s judgement and punishment of eternal separation from Him. And that is through faith!
Let’s look at another verse on faith.
Hebrews 11:6 (NIV)
And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
God loves it when we seek Him, want to have a strong relationship with Him, and enjoy being around Him. Like any other relationship, one with God requires our time together, trust, respect, and love. We do trust, have faith in God and His love for us. Because God loves us so much, He provides for our needs in many different ways which will be addressed through the chapters of this book.
He needs us to think about this. Maybe you think your faith is weak, but you probably have stronger faith than you realize you do. God needs us to realize the difference between childlike faith and our “adult faith.” We must know what we need to avoid.
This first chapter is called “Childlike Faith,” so I asked Carlisle what that meant to her, and I also asked her to interview her little sisters to see what their thoughts were. Carli did interview them, and she did an amazing job—even asking well thought-out questions about their faith, which allowed them to understand her main question: What is childlike faith? What does childlike faith look like to a then age eleven - an age eight - and a six-year-old? I will let Carlisle explain her thoughts and also report our other two granddaughters’ answers to the same question.
What is Childlike Faith?
Childlike faith is when you wholeheartedly believe God can do anything. See, a child will believe you because their minds are still pure and untouched by the reality of the world that all humans grow into. We, as Christians, aren’t to grow into the world’s reality. We are supposed to change for the better, realizing there is a supernatural way God does things.
If you told a child there was a unicorn outside, they would run to the window and say, “Where?” They wouldn’t have a single doubt. That is how we are supposed to trust God. Adults have jobs, and sometimes families to support, making less and less time for God, forcing them to rely more on themselves. I spend time with God without these distractions. But even at eleven or almost twelve now, I’m starting to lose that kind of faith. That is why you must stay in TRUE prayer with God.
Carli’s insight is amazing! She just turned twelve a few weeks ago, but already she’s figured out one of the big problems God has with adults. We give Him less and less time, therefore leaning on our own understanding which can’t deal with impossible things.
Carli has a keen understanding of TRUE prayer, and she will be explaining that in another chapter. Meanwhile, she explains what Kendall and Caitlin said when she asked them to explain childlike faith.
Kendall is eight and said that kids are less uptight about their faith, but adults are “by the book” and have to think things over and question God. Questions like who He is and why He does this and that.
Caitlin came into the room and I asked her what childlike faith was as a six-year-old. She had to think about it a little while. Then she answered this way. “It is when you are just starting your walk with Christ and are very curious about your faith. You think God is invincible.”
I looked at the paper, read what Carlisle had written, and asked, “Did Caitlin really use the word invincible?”
“Yes,” Carli said.
I asked, “Where did she learn such a big word?”
“Probably from the movies,” Carlisle answered.
That makes sense. What a great way to describe God!
Okay, let’s think about this: for three days when I thought and thought about God having me pray for limbs to be restored, I did exactly what Kendall said adults do. My answer, having thought it through, was “Nope, I am not the one with that much faith.” I totally felt that that open vision indeed was from God, but no way could I see limbs growing back happening as I prayed.
Who was I looking at?
What was I focusing on?
And I was right. I couldn’t, as hard as I wished, make limbs be restored.
The Holy Spirit showed me to just use my childlike faith, and that settled it.
My thoughts immediately switched to God. It will be the powerful supernatural Holy Spirit at work, and it will just happen. It will be fine! I will pray with the faith of these children.
Let’s look again at what a child says that the faith they use looks like. Carlisle said that she wholeheartedly believes God can do anything. Remember, she pointed out that her life is not full of the distractions of a job or a family. “I spend time with God without those distractions,” she said.
This is true. Her relationship with God is pure love without a motive, without worries—just Carlisle and God spending time together.
A younger view, eight-year-old Kendall pointed out that kids aren’t uptight about what God says. They don’t have to think about it or ask questions about it.
That is certainly what I had done. I thought hard and long for three days before I talked to God about it. I knew all that healing would involve and I came up with only one answer: “No, I just don’t have that much faith.”
If God had asked eight-year-old Kendall to pray for limbs to grow out, this thinking about it would not have occurred. Kendall would have accepted as fact that God is restoring limbs. It will happen, she would think, because God said so.
Caitlin said, “I am just starting my walk with Christ and this is what I have learned: God is invincible.” What an impressive word for that age, but I had forgotten that she saw an animated movie with that word in the title. It was full of invincible characters, each with a special gifting that made the family do amazing things.
God is invincible, incapable of being defeated or conquered. Definitely, God IS a superhero! He IS INVINCIBLE!
Childlike, Not Childish
I want to stop right here and make sure that we are not confusing childlike faith with childish faith. Childish
faith is often applied contemptuously; in other words, with disrespect. This childish faith is unsuitable for a grownup or anyone else. Childlike faith is what pleases our Heavenly Father.
Let’s try to stay in our childlike faith. Let’s try to live our whole life in this faith. The results will be staggering as we are not putting brakes on God, not limiting Him by thinking things through as an adult.
An Eight-Year-Old Child Becomes King
In 2 Kings 2:22, we learn about King Josiah, the last king of Israel. I bring him up because he was only eight years old when he became king. Josiah reigned thirty-one years and is known for instituting major religious changes. You see, he sought God, which is amazing considering who Josiah’s father and grandfather were. His grandfather was King Manasseh and Josiah’s dad was King Amon. Both were very wicked kings.
King Manasseh was actually known as the worst of the worst of kings, as far as leading a country away from God. He was twelve when he became king, just a boy himself. He introduced the foreign ways of worshipping, practices such as manmade idols to worship, sacrificing children, and consulting mediums and wizardry. He even sacrificed one of his own sons.
When Manasseh died, his son Amon became king. Amon was twenty-two when he took over, but he picked up right where his dad left off— just as evil.
King Amon’s servants conspired against him and killed him in his own home, so Amon only reigned two years.
That left eight-year-old Josiah to lead the country. God can use a child to influence a nation, and thankfully, this little boy had a heart after God. I can only assume that someone, perhaps his grandmother or mother, taught Josiah about God and King David. I was curious, so I did some searching. I found that his mother was Jedidah. She was married to that man who did everything against God, but I learned she quietly sought God and raised her son to honor Him, evidently seeking wise council while she helped her little eight-year-old rule as King. We know older people helped King Josiah at first, but when he was fifteen, he started to seek the Lord on his own. He followed good examples, like David.
Josiah ordered the temple to be rebuilt, and during that time the workers found a scroll hidden in the walls. They took it to Josiah to read, and as he read, this young boy was very alarmed to learn that he and all the people of Israel had been sinning.
They had been worshipping false gods. This worship of false gods was the way with so many of the people, since that is what King Manasseh and King Amon encouraged. Josiah was very brave in ordering the false gods that people had built to worship knocked down. He broke up those idols and got rid of them.
The scroll had been lost for so many years that the people had lost sight of what God asked them to do. Josiah was so sad, so angry, that he tore his clothes. That was what they did in those days to show grief and repentance. Then he set in motion a reformation to destroy those idols. That reformation bears his name and left an indelible mark on Israel’s religious traditions. The faith of a young king who loved the Lord, moved that mountain. (You can read about Josiah in 2 Kings 22-23:30.)
I turned seventy-five years old less than a week before Carli turned eleven. God knows Carlisle, Kendall and Caitlin walk in childlike faith. Childlike faith is such a pure faith, and we adults can use it, too. In less than a blink of an eye I reverted back into that pure, simple trust when led to use that childlike faith regarding limbs growing back. This is how powerful childlike faith is. You can hop back into it in a split second. Let’s stay there. Let’s stay in that childlike mountain-moving faith.