Faith of a Child

The following are actual warning labels on products for children:

  • Not intended for highway driving. — On a tricycle
  • Do not use as ear plugs. — On a package of silly putty
  • Wearing of this garment does not enable you to fly. — On a child-sized Superman costume

Clearly, the average manufacturer does not underestimate the ability of a child to think and act outside the box — or a child’s belief that all things are possible.

It is this belief — the willingness of children to open their hearts and minds to all of the possibilities that God has put before them — that continually draws me toward ministry to young people.

This combination of joie de vivre and the simple faith of a child is what I hope to celebrate and encourage everyday of my life here on Earth.

Did you know that the average child smiles 400 times a day? The average adult only 15. What is it that we lose on our way to adulthood?

smiling baby sitting next to a pair of boots

In our efforts to achieve success, to be taken seriously, to be “mature” — what is it that we give up along the way?

Try this experiment:

Walk up to a group of children and suggest the most impossible of ventures — digging to China via the backyard, for example.

Your suggestion will be met with squeals of delight and approval. There will be an immediate call for shovels. The endeavor will be undertaken without delay and with much enthusiasm and optimism.

You will hear children begging for a role in the project — sharing their abilities and what they can offer to the grand plan. You will hear how and why this idea really could work!

Now gather a group of adults. Propose an idea that will take them outside of their comfort zone — an overseas missions trip or even a volunteer opportunity in their own community.

I guarantee you will get a much different reaction. Be prepared to hear a litany of reasons as to why it can’t be done.

There will be a laundry list of prior commitments, an encyclopedia of flaws that render each person inadequate for the project. “I can’t do this because _______ (fill in the blank.)” A few will join you. Most will not.

Is it any wonder that Jesus said again and again that we must be like children?

I believe it is not merely because children are gentle — but because they are enthusiastic, bold and willing. It is that sparkling trifecta that I believe Christ hopes for in all of his followers.

One of my favorite Bible verses is “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13, NKJV). Who is more faithful to this message than a child?

I think of my own sponsored child who, in his very first letter at the age of seven, told me of his intention to be an artist.

This is a little boy in rural Africa who had never owned a box of crayons or a set of paints in his life. But what does that matter to a child who has faith? Each letter brings a new drawing more beautiful and elaborate than the last.

How many of us would have said, “I don’t have what it takes?” My Compassion child didn’t — he simply forged ahead with the knowledge that through Christ all things are possible.

So sponsors, pause for a moment and thank God for bringing you into a relationship with one of the true movers and shakers in our world — a child. Thank Him for introducing you to someone who will show you what it means to be joyful and optimistic, confident and faithful even in the most impossible of situations.

And while you are at it, offer a hand to one of these children who are so small, yet so bold.

  • If you are a sponsor, write your children. Remind them that in their lifetime anything is possible. Tell them how you have learned from them — how they have inspired you.
  • If you are not yet a sponsor, I encourage you to make that commitment today. I promise you will get more out of the experience than you could ever possibly give.

Thank you to everyone who sponsors and encourages a child in anyway. I know with certainty that the Lord is smiling down upon you! May we all be more like a child, each and every day of our life!

“Listen to the mustn’ts, child. Listen to the don’ts. Listen to the shouldn’ts, the impossibles, the won’ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me …
Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.”
—Shel Silverstein

14 Comments |Add a comment

  1. Lisa Miles October 4, 2012

    I came across a Tweet today that reminded me of this old post. It’s written by the “Honest Toddler”:

    “If you put 8 or 9 batteries in a toilet it will not become a robot. Don’t ask how I know just listen.”


  2. The Poor Husband August 13, 2009

    I love the faith of a child! I think there is so much we can learn from their simple trusting unshakeable faith in our God. For an inspiring story of a child’s faith, a special prayer, and a surprise answer to that prayer, check out this link about my daughter.
    The Poor Husband

  3. Heather August 27, 2008

    I wish I had this kind of powerful child faith but to be honest Ive rarely had it.I hope to grow more of it!:)My 6 yr old(thru an adult)wrote she wanted to teach.I wrote her tht she could be anything she wanted to be because she was smart!

  4. Sara Benson August 25, 2008

    ignore the first half of my post(I got confused and that is for another post:)

    But I love tht poem!

  5. Sara Benson August 25, 2008

    Wow. This was a great post. I don’t think I would have to make those kind of decisions about who gets the food. I will be praying for you.

    I love the imagination that kids have. Everything seems possible, and trust is so easy. I want to have that kind of faith.

  6. Jill August 23, 2008

    Thank you for the wonderful reminder of what how important we are to our sponsored children.

  7. Tina August 22, 2008

    When I was little, my mom put silly putty in my ears to keep me from getting swimmers’ ear when we went to the beach – guess there are some adults who can still “think outside the box”! 😛

    …and that comment about smiling – WOW! If it means smiling 375 less times a day, I never want to grow up!

  8. Beth Ingersoll August 22, 2008

    Wow. I have to go write my sponsored child right now!

  9. Vicki Small August 22, 2008

    Ah, Lisa…even if you don’t see this until you get back…you’ve added another perspective to your post: Think of an adult who encouraged and believed in you, as a child; someone who invested him- or herself in you.

    I can think of three or four whose paths encountered mine at different stages of my life. I want to be to my sponsored children the nurturing, encouraging, supporting, loving person each of them was to me.

  10. Sarah August 22, 2008

    We can sure learn a lot from children. Thanks for this awesome post!

  11. Lisa Miles August 22, 2008

    Ken M., God bless you for encouraging your sponsored child. There will be so many things along the way that send him the message that he will never make it. Your prayers and encouragement may be the one thing that gets him through all that and gets him to college.

    I try to always respond to the people who comment on my posts — but I’m actually heading to a funeral today and will be gone for a week or so. It’s the funeral of an adult who encouraged me, told me I could do anything I put my mind to, and financed my way through college and grad school. So this post today is kind of a tribute to her — and to everyone who sponsors and encourages children, everywhere. Sponsors, you DO make a difference and it is huge and wonderful. Thank you!

  12. Compassion dave August 22, 2008

    I often suggest ‘your’ phrase to folks who are struggling with discerning God’s voice.

    “Is that God talking, or me,” they might ask.

    “What is your first response to the voice you hear,” and add, is it (your phrase), “I can’t do this because _______ (fill in the blank)?”

    The notion being that if your first response to the ‘challenge’ is an ‘excuse’ there is a good chance it is God speaking.

    It then always comes back to, “Is your God bigger than your excuse?”

  13. Ken M. August 22, 2008

    In his very first letter to me, my sponsored child said that he wanted to go to college. He was only 5. Now he is about to turn 8 and he is doing well in school. I tell him to hold on to the dreams that God gives to him. I pray that his dreams never die.

  14. Sarah August 22, 2008

    Awesome post! Really made me think 🙂

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