There are many references in the Bible to the wonderful relationship we have been given as children of God. (See John 1:12 for a powerful example.) Jesus had much to say about being a child in relation to God and His Kingdom. For instance, “I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven.” (See Matthew 18:3.) So what is it about a child that is so special and appeals to the Father heart of God? Why does child-likeness qualify us for His Kingdom?
I think the simple answer is this: children put their faith in their parents (whether or not that parent is trustworthy). This week in Heartbreakingly Beautiful, we contemplate what biblical faith in God looks like. I mention that Beth possessed what is known as ‘child-like faith’ in God. As I write, it is 2.5 years since Beth went Home, as a child, into the arms of her Heavenly Father. My hurting heart cries out for God to grant me more of this same ‘child-like faith’ in Him. He has heard my cry and led me to Psalm 131 where He has revealed some new treasures…
My heart is not proud, Lord,
my eyes are not haughty;
I do not concern myself with great matters
or things too wonderful for me.
But I have calmed and quieted myself,
I am like a weaned child with its mother;
like a weaned child I am content.
Put your hope in the Lord
both now and forevermore.
Such a little Psalm but one that wields a great punch! Let me unpack for you what I think is at the core of this wisdom…
Just as there are different stages in our physical and emotional development, so there are stages in our spiritual lives. There are different phases to this ‘walk of faith’ in Jesus. It is a fact that in all these realms, we begin life as babies. Now I adore babies – they are so cute and cuddly! But they are totally dependent for everything in order to live and to thrive. They need constant feeding, comforting and cleaning! They can do nothing for themselves at all. All babies are totally helpless to begin with – but not designed to stay this way.
There is something seriously wrong if babies remain babies all their lives. Parents take great delight when they see evidence that their baby is developing into a child. The baby begins to smile, walk, talk and is weaned from milk and introduced to solids. A baby has to learn how to comfort herself and become a child. Friends, there are many spiritual parallels here – I am sure you can think of many more.
Here in this psalm we see that David, the songwriter, understood that although he had been given a position of high authority as king over all God’s people, his heart knew his rightful place. He gave up his ‘adult’ rights and instead of being arrogant and prideful, he became ‘as a little child’, satisfied in the lap of the God who had weaned him from baby-like dependency.
He found the ‘place in the middle’ – the place of ‘child like faith’ and the freedom that comes with it! This is the place Father God wants to bring us to also. We can’t come to Him as ‘independent adults’ in our spirits – we must BE Children in order to receive Him as Father. It is natural that we begin as babies in our spiritual lives. When we are ‘born again’ into the Kingdom, we all need to be fed and totally provided for when we first begin. But God wants us to keep maturing – keep growing in our faith without becoming proud and embittered. This is part of the Good News that I often forget – we are not only called to BE Children, but also called to BE HIS CHILD! What a relief!
You know, when I think of our children and the way I delight in seeing them develop and live life as they mature, these words come to mind… secure, happy, trusting, joyous, teachable, interdependent, serving, thoughtful, loving and carefree! In contrast, in my ‘adultness’ I sure can act like a baby sometimes and words like these can describe my immature heart… insecure, ambitious, anxious, doubtful, whiney, dependent, selfish and bound up!
I believe that Psalm 131, in its simplicity, shows us how we have the tendency to swing from ‘independent adulthood’ to ‘immature babyhood’ in our attitude to our Father. It also gives us the antidote when things have swung out of balance. Friends, maybe what you are going through is just the ‘weaning’. Maybe He is teaching you how to feed yourself the meat of His Word so you can then feed other babies one day! Maybe He is denying you that immediate comfort you feel you need right now so that you learn to walk back freely to Him and embrace Him as a child again?
I think this is what is at the heart of Beth’s famous saying, ‘We don’t know it all, but we know enough!’ The ultimate expression of faith during trial and loss is returning again to the lap of our Father, even if He has denied us temporary satisfaction, and just BE content sitting within His embrace. In a nutshell – let us not be afraid to BE Children again and come to our Father in faith. For in Him is unfailing love and FULL redemption!
Songs to encourage you:
That’s What Faith Can Do by Kutless
I Lift My Hands by Chris Tomlin
A book to build you up:
A Long Obedience in the Same Direction by Eugene Peterson is one of my very favorites.
God does not desire children who continue to rant and rave when they don’t get what they want. Nor does He desire children who are scared into silence. He desires children who will trust Him, even with their unanswered questions, because they know His heart is good!