Childlike faith is what I should have been able to teach my children. I came from a Christian home and family. My daughters came from an abusive and neglectful home. Then they were put into orphanages run by agencies left over from an atheist government. No one was there to teach my daughters childlike faith, but it was they who taught it to me.
We didn’t realize that our children were freaked out, too. My wife, Amy, had begun feeling increasingly ill over several weeks. Then she had some unusual symptoms show up. Google searches on the symptoms said to get in to a doctor. The preliminary diagnosis was that she had a blockage in her bile duct. When she asked the doctor what caused it, he said it would require an ultrasound and then, probably, a CT Scan to make a determination. We turned back to the internet to get at least an idea of what was going on. It was likely that my wife’s condition was caused by gall stones which would require what is now a pretty simple outpatient surgery. Still, until the doctors could come back with more definitive testing, we couldn’t rule out tumors.
Amy and I told the kids that she wasn’t feeling well and that we needed more help around the house. They became fairly concerned, but we tried to down-play things, telling them that she would probably just need a simple surgery. Then we talked about a friend who had successfully undergone the removal of his gall bladder. Just like adults, kids want to know about the worst-case-scenario. When they asked, I told them that the worst-case-scenario of me driving them to school was that we could get in a wreck and we could all die, but that the odds of that happening were so small that we don’t even worry about it when we get in the car. I explained to our children that the doctors knew what they were doing and that everything should be fine with their mom, but that we’d need extra cooperation for a couple of weeks. I thought that would put their minds at ease, but for Amy and me it was another two days before the doctors confirmed that the problem appeared to be stones rather than tumors.
No… Faith; childlike faith, requires that we bring our will into line with God’s.
I didn’t realize how concerned our children still were. Our family typically prays together at bedtime and the night before Amy’s scheduled surgery, it was my eleven-year-old daughter’s turn to say the prayer. Celeste went through a list of typical gratitude expressions and requests that had almost become routine in our family prayers. Then she paused before she continued. “And please help Mom, so she doesn’t die.” Then she whimpered. “But if she does die, please let us buy her really nice flowers for her.” She sniffled, gathered her courage and finished the prayer. Wow. Real childlike faith. Not my will, but thine. I might have known it would come from the child who taught me how to cope with death.
What a learning moment. My whole life I have had a tendency to use prayer as an attempt to bring God’s will into line with mine. If I believe enough, He has to do what I want! Isn’t that what the Bible says? But no… Faith; childlike faith, requires that we bring our will into line with God’s.
There was absolutely no doubt that Celeste’s prayer would be answered. Her childlike faith had ensured that by allowing for His will to be done.
Celeste had asked God to please, spare her mother. If that was not in His will, then she would ask for something else, something lesser, that we could do and that couldn’t possibly go against His will. There was absolutely no doubt that Celeste’s prayer would be answered. Her childlike faith had ensured that by allowing for His will to be done. What strength! What fortitude! What trust in the Perfect Father! What… childlike faith!
I hope that one day I can develop such trust and childlike faith. It’s not like I don’t have plenty of examples among my friends and family. They are patient with me as they teach me and lead me. Don’t get me wrong. I’m a believer. I just haven’t quite come to the point where I can comfortably give God a choice to take my wife, or let me buy flowers for her. I still haven’t learned to accept that some children will never have families. I still want to get my way in so many situations in my life. I continue to learn and to take baby steps, while people like my wife and daughters let me hold their fingers, while I move my feet cautiously forward in my attempt to approach childlike faith.
As I brought my wife home after a successful surgery, Jack, our nineteen-year-old son who has Down syndrome, jumped up from his chair in front of a computer football game. “Mom! You’re home! You’re alive!” he shouted. Yes… both Jack and I were glad that Celeste’s greater request had been granted. And I was grateful for yet one more lesson on childlike faith from my daughters.
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