Screaming, beaming, and twirling. 60 plus kids echo songs off of the gymnasium walls, “I’ve got a great big God, Oh / He’s always by my side.”
“Is that true?” the man leading the singing asks. “Is God big? Is he always by your side?”
“Yes!” the children scream deafeningly. It’s a simple answer, but these children mean it entirely. In their contagious excitement and genuine trust, these kids honestly believe what the awesome, fun adults are telling them. God is strong, and he will always care for them. No questions. No doubts. They are simply secure in the biggest, kindest father ever.
That is childlike faith. It’s not naïve or uninformed. It’s pure and much wiser than faith polluted with adult knowledge and doubt.
As a child, I always wanted to grow up. I thought it would make me a better person. But the older I got, the more I realized I wasn’t reaching perfection as quickly as I had imagined.
Watching the children’s trust and excitement, I realized my attempts at perfection were counterproductive. God doesn’t need my knowledge and advice. He wants my unconditional trust.
God is big, and he will take care of me. The children believe that. When God says to do something crazy, like “love your enemies,” the kids don’t question whether they have the capacity to do that. Children accept unconditionally. There is no web of mature knowledge or doubt clouding their minds.
Yet, as an adult, when Jesus says, “Love your enemies,” we think about ISIS and shootings. In our mature minds we wonder how loving our enemies is possible. We are like five year olds worrying about our parents’ budget, job security, and whether they’ll fight so much they forget about dinner.
We are silly, not mature, to condition our trust in God. Sure we’ve seen more of the world than children have. We are much more acquainted with the world’s sorrows, and we need to use our knowledge to make wise decisions. But we’ve lost the childlike humility and awe that is much more mature than our knowledge. We’ve forgotten that God is big and man is small.
Children outsmart us by genuinely trusting that God is big and he loves them.
Photo credit Sevasta (Sash) Chatterjee.
 Unknown, “God O.”