I try to live my life with the “faith of a child” that Jesus talks about – a faith that is innocent, full, expectant, and without suspicion or distrust in God’s goodness. Of course, this isn’t easy to do given the unending challenges and struggles that we all face while living out the days He’s given us. However, I have found that nothing is more important, which is why that idea is reflected in the name and web address of my blog.
In the Bible, we know of many stories where certain central figures demonstrated incredible faith. But there is one story that very few know or remember, and it’s actually my all-time favorite demonstration of childlike faith. It’s a pretty simple and short incident. But it’s powerful and instructive in how I want to live:
In Lystra there sat a man who was lame. He had been that way from birth and had never walked. He listened to Paul as he was speaking. Paul looked directly at him, saw that he had faith to be healed and called out, “Stand up on your feet!” At that, the man jumped up and began to walk. (Acts 8:8-10, NIV)
Oh man, I love this story so much, it makes my heart sing just thinking about it! Okay, let’s break it down.
First, our guy was lame from the very beginning. “From his mother’s womb” as the NASB puts it. Walking was not an option in the mind of anyone who saw him or knew of him. That’s crazy. He didn’t have a chance. But something tells me that he still believed it could happen one day, because he positioned himself to get to where Paul was speaking, and to listen in. I believe there was something special about him, for Paul to see him, lock eyes with him, and just know deep down in his heart that the man “had faith to be healed.”
I believe there was something special about him, for Paul to see him, lock eyes with him, and just know deep down in his heart that the man “had faith to be healed.”
Can you imagine looking at someone and seeing with the eyes of your heart that they have faith? Faith in God, that He would help them accomplish something. Or break a bad habit. Or conquer their demons. Or swim upstream when everyone else is floating downstream. Or overcome all odds. Or to be completely healed.
I want to be like that. I want to see that in those who radiate that childlike faith, and I want to be someone who exudes childlike faith to those around me. It gives hope. It energizes. It inspires. Mostly when you and I look around, we see a lot of people radiating cynicism, sadness, emptiness, and quiet desperation. I want to be different. And I want to be around others who want to be different. Like this guy.
Mostly when you and I look around, we see a lot of people radiating cynicism, sadness, emptiness, and quiet desperation. I want to be different. And I want to be around others who want to be different.
And he finally got a chance.
Once Paul looked at our guy and saw that he was different – that he had childlike faith to be “made well” – he told him to stand up. But he didn’t just stand up. He jumped up! He was so full of faith in that moment that he leaped all the way to his feet! I love that! It wasn’t cautious or tentative. It wasn’t half-hearted and marked by skepticism. He didn’t worry about falling back down, or what others might think, or if they would laugh and judge and mock. He jumped up. That is childlike faith in full effect. It fills you from head to toe and it prompts decisive action because it is rooted in decisive trust in God. And then “he walked around as if he’d been walking all of his life.” Childlike faith expects the problem or situation to be completely restored and redeemed.
Not almost all of the way.
All of the way.
Because our God is like that. Our God completes things to perfection.
Also, it is clear that there is something about childlike faith that moves God’s heart – that moves Him to action. If my daughter Maya or my son Ravi ask me for something that is good for them, I’m going to give it to them because I am their father and I love them immeasurably. That’s what fathers do! Our guy in this story asked God (through Paul) for something that was good for him – the “good gift” of healing – and he believed with fully expectant and unadulterated faith that God would respond.
And He did, because He loves to “give good gifts to those who ask Him.”
Finally, Jesus specifically said that we must become like little children (in the simplicity and boldness of their faith) in order to experience all that God has for us. Our guy does that. I actually believe he has tried to be like that his entire life, and protected that mentality, and fought for it and would not let go of His childlike faith no matter what life threw at him.
And like I said, he finally got a chance.
You know how some stories just change you forever? This one is everything to me. This is how I want to live. This is what I want to be known for. This is how I want to be remembered. I encourage you to fully discover this perspective, and rediscover it when you lose it along the way. Keep coming back to it, and hold fast to it – as tightly as you can.
It is there for you. You can have it.
And I think it is the best way to live, and the best way to honor Him.
Image source: https://bit.ly/2xvKVgH