One of my favorite things to do on Sunday mornings is to spend it with the kiddos. About twice a month, I get to volunteer as a leader of my church’s children’s ministry, and it is, honestly, one of the most rewarding things I have ever done.
Truth be told, I signed up because I just love kids. They’re so fun to hang out with, so vibrant, so full of energy and life — and, truth be told part 2, I really enjoy being able to hang out with them for a short period of time before giving them back to their parents.
Once upon a time, I wanted to be a teacher. Somewhere along the line, I fell in love with writing and public relations and my life took an entirely different path. However, I’ve never really given up on the idea of having my own classroom. Maybe it’s something that’s in the cards way down the line, when I have a family of my own and want summers off to spend with them… or maybe, I’ve found my calling right here, within the walls of my church. I used to joke that I started teaching Sunday school as a way to hold on to my dream of teaching without the actual commitment.
I’ve discovered, though, that (as usual) God had a whole other set of plans for what teaching children’s ministry on Sundays would bring me.
The Kingdom of Heaven belongs to such as these.
– Matthew 19:14
Have you ever watched a child believe? Have you ever listened to their uninhibited, unquestioning knowledge of the Gospel? Have you ever talked to them about their faith in Jesus Christ and His redemption?
Let me tell you – I have, and it is one of the most wondrous things out there.
So, let’s be honest with ourselves. Even those of us (and I’m raising my hand here, too) who grew up believers, raised as good Christian children in good Christian families, have struggled with doubt as we grew older. It’s inevitable. Eventually, you learn that such doubts and such struggles are ultimately a part of our greater relationship with Christ. We know that part of what strengthens that relationship is questioning it and choosing to believe anyway. It’s seeing the impact of our saddened, sinful world and choosing to look to the Lord to offer faith and redemption and peace in it.
But do you remember what it was like when you were oblivious to the sinful ways of the world around us? When you knew of evil but didn’t quite comprehend it?
I do. And I’m reminded of that blissful, unfailing faith in God every time I hang out with those kids.
I remember sitting in my church in Texas, all those years ago. I loved that church because it was beautiful, and because they did rotations during Sunday school, and one of those rotations was to a movie theatre, and there was real buttered popcorn in that movie theatre. I remember the perks of that church more than anything, as I guess seven-year-olds are probably prone to do.
But I also remember believing it because I didn’t know that you could question it.
And sure, I’ve since grown up and recognized that questioning my faith and subsequently understanding it on a deeper level is one of the benefits of more time spent on this planet. But it can also be terrifying, to wonder about something you once almost took for granted.
I’m not saying these kids don’t know what they believe in. In fact, I believe that the children I spend Sundays with believe in God so fiercely and so innocently that they are to be looked up to (even if, technically, that requires looking down).
Our faith is not meant to be questioned; it is meant to be accepted, and leaned on, and almost taken for granted.
He is a graceful, loving Lord, and He wants us to look at Him with the eyes of a child. He wants us to obey His commands and not question His reasons. He wants us to love Him the way that He loves us.
And yes, He recognizes that the older we get, the more reasons there are to doubt the strength of that love and that relationship.
But, so often, there’s also so many more reasons to relish in it.
Sometimes, it just takes watching a child praying, or listening to the words of the Gospel, to remember that. Sometimes, it just takes a moment or two in the eyes of a child’s faith to find the very core of our own.