Sunday, July 21, 2013

The Faith of a Child

One of the primary songs that our children sing is called “A Child’s Prayer”. The words are:

1. Heavenly Father, are you really there?
And do you hear and answer ev'ry child's prayer?
Some say that heaven is far away,
But I feel it close around me as I pray.
Heavenly Father, I remember now
Something that Jesus told disciples long ago:
"Suffer the children to come to me."
Father, in prayer I'm coming now to thee.
2. Pray, he is there;
Speak, he is list'ning.
You are his child;
His love now surrounds you.
He hears your prayer;
He loves the children.
Of such is the kingdom, the kingdom of heav'n.
Words and music: Janice Kapp Perry, b. 1938

One day our eight-year-old grandson, Nathan, asked my wife a question. He said: “Grandma, why do the say that?” He was asking about the first line in the song. He wanted to know why someone would ask if Heavenly Father was really there? He does not doubt that his Father in Heaven is real or that he knows who he is and that he loves him. That is the faith of a child.

When do we lose that childlike faith and why? I don’t know if this was on the minds of the disciples when they asked Jesus who was the greatest in the kingdom of heaven, but the Savior brought a child and set him in the midst of them and said: “Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven”.

What did Jesus mean when he said: “become as little children”? I think he was talking of their faith. Sometimes when I have a rough day or when I listen to news and see all the wickedness and sorrow in the world, I get those questions going through my mind: “Heavenly Father, are you really there”? Do you really care? Sometimes these experiences can bring doubts and cloud that childlike faith. When that happens we need to remember Jesus’s admonition to become as little children.

Sister Jean A. Stevens, First Counselor in the Primary General Presidency, gave a talk in the April 2011 General Conference titled “Become as a Little Child”. In that address she said:

“Our Father in Heaven, in His great wisdom and love, sends His spirit sons and daughters to this earth as children. They come to families as precious gifts with a divine nature and destiny. Our Heavenly Father knows children are a key to helping us become like Him. There is so much we can learn from children….These precious children of God come to us with believing hearts. They are full of faith and receptive to feelings of the Spirit. They exemplify humility, obedience, and love. They are often the first to love and the first to forgive.”

She then tells about Todd, a two-year-old boy, who went with his mother to visit an art museum that was showing paintings of the Savior. Sister Stevens describes what Todd’s mother witnessed:

As they walked past these sacred images, she heard her little boy reverently saying the name “Jesus.” She looked down to see him folding his arms and bowing his head as he viewed the paintings. Could we learn from Todd something about an attitude of humility, of reverence, and of love for the Lord?...

It is here in our families, in an atmosphere of love, where we see and appreciate in a more personal way the divine attributes of His spirit children. It is here in our families where our hearts can be softened and in humility we desire to change, to become more childlike. It is a process by which we can become more Christlike.”

I had the opportunity to help tend four of our grandchildren for three days while their parents were gone. One evening after we had put them to bed, our six-year-old granddaughter, Jordan, came down from her bed saying that her stomach was hurting. I suggested that she go back to bed and try to go to sleep. She went back to her room but a few minutes later she came back saying that her stomach still hurt. I said that she really needed to try and go to sleep and that she would be all right. A few minutes later she was back again. I asked if she would like me to give her a blessing to help her stomach stop hurting and she said yes. I gave her the blessing and she went back to bed and immediately fell asleep. She had faith in the priesthood that I held and the faith that her Heavenly Father would hear that blessing and heal her and she was right.

My wife and I have nine grandchildren and we love each one of them. They are full of energy, love AND faith. Through my experiences with them, I have come to know in a small way the love that our Heavenly Father has for us his children and why Jesus admonished us to become as they are.

Another time Jesus said: “suffer the little children to come to him, for of such is the kingdom of God. (Luke 18:16). I know that, when life’s experiences cause us to doubt; if we can develop the faith of our children that we will be welcomed back into the presence of our Father and our Savior Jesus Christ and we won’t have to ask: “Heavenly Father are you really there? We will know by the spirit of the Holy Ghost that he is there and he will never leave us alone.

Your thoughts and comments are welcome

No comments:

Post a Comment

All comments will be reviewed prior to them being posted. I invite questions and comments, but will not post offensive or argumentative comments. Comments that are appropriate will be posted as soon as possible.