One of the most wonderful things in the world is the simple faith of a child. Children are perfect examples of trusting dependence. In this regard, the younger the better.
Jesus affirms this in Matthew 18:1-14. In this passage, he sets a little covenant child in the midst of the disciples (who were arguing about who is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven) and declared that the humble, trusting dependence (or faith) of a little child is the prerequisite for entrance into His Kingdom. It would not be too much of a stretch to state that Jesus holds out the faith of this little covenant child as the model those in His Kingdom.
Interesting, isn’t it, that Jesus tells us to develop faith more like that of a child while we tell children to develop faith more like ours. More than a little scary when one considers the warning Jesus gives to those who offend the faith of one of these little ones causing him or her to stumble. (Read Matthew 18:6 and note that this particular millstone that Jesus is referring to had to be turned by a donkey. Imagine trying to swim with a rock that big tied around your neck.)
Why am I bringing this up today? Because for weeks now I have not been able to get this poignant (and heartbreaking) blog post out of my head. It appeared in the Motherlode blog, which is hosted by the New York Times, back in October. You should read the post for yourself. In it, KJ Dell’Antonia, a mother, is describing how she handled questions about God and heaven coming from her very young children. The response of one of her children, Rory, to her answer about heaven is enough to make me weep. (And, it does make the child weep hysterically. Read it. I promise it is worth your time.)
Compare that to the book that I have been reading by Rick Lusk entitled Paedofaith. He argues that, rather than attempting to squelch the marvelous faith of our children, we should be encouraging it and taking every opportunity to firmly attach it to the Lord Jesus Christ. (He argues this based upon the Matthew passage cited above, Psalm 22, and other passages. As for this book, I was say read it as well. I also promise it is worth your time.)
These two contrasting approaches to the faith of our children shoud cause Christian parents to ask some really hard questions. First among them should probably be this: when I deal with the faith of my children, do I sound more like Mrs. Dell’Antonia or Jesus?