Saturday, July 21, 2012

Footprints of Faith

I have recently returned from a being gone a month to visit family. We are slowly readjusting to "real" life and getting back into our normal groove. 

One morning, early, I was walking on the beach with my dad.  We were laughing at the people who were sleeping so soundly, all alone, in their chair and we were contemplating what their stories might be.  We were cracking ourselves up (which is easy to do for me) as we walked down the beach and enjoyed the sunrise and breeze coming off the ocean. 

I always like to take in the footprints (and paw prints) on the beach as I am walking along...and these below caught my eye.   The two sets (the larger barefoot and the smaller barefoot) were what I noticed.  My initial thought was "oh what a great post...who is following in your footsteps?" so I snapped a picture (because let's face it, a visual aid always makes a post better).  And that post would have been a great one!

Except it's not what God wanted me to write.  If you look at the footprints you will notice that the little footprint is ahead of the larger one.  Which means that the adult was following the child.  And that is when it hit me.

Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." Matthew 19:14 

We often follow our children in order to keep them safe, but rarely do we follow them when we have to make big decisions.  We don't ask them first their opinion, or seek their advice because they do not have enough life experiences.  Right?  We know better than they do.  We, after all, are the adults. 

Jesus saw through the pride of adulthood and spoke of something far more important.  The faith of a child.  Children are innately trustworthy.  They count on adults to take care of them, teach them and lead them down the right road.  They often mimic the behaviors and speech of the adult figures in their lives.  And they repeat the lessons taught to them.  The trusting part is what gets me.  Look at these verses:

Mark 10:15 (New King James Version)
15 Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it."
Luke 18:17 (New King James Version)
17 Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it."

Jesus knew that the faith of a child, the simple "I trust you" attitude, would be what we all would need to mimic.  Because Jesus is the trustworthy one.  He is the only trustworthy one.  And the children believe it because He said so.  We adults, though,  add a dash of doubt with every difficult experience we go through and we speak hesitantly about His trustworthiness because we "have life experiences" that make it hard to see His goodness.  But when you tell a child to pray and ask Jesus to help them in whatever they are facing, do you know what they do?  They pray.  And they don't just pray...they pray believing.  Because they have faith in the One who said, "Never will I  leave you; never will I  forsake you." Hebrews 13:5  He doesn't just throw out phrases like that to make us feel good.  He means them. It is a promise to us, as His children, that He will not EVER leave us alone.  The comfort we SHOULD find in that is almost incomprehensible. 

I know that my children watch what I do, what I say, how I respond to situations and how I react to things in my life and I pray that I am a good example to them.  But my children remind me more and more everyday, that faith really is believing in what we cannot see.  I know that because I see it in their eyes, hear it in their prayers and watch them live it in their daily life.  So while I want my footprints to lead them down a path that will cause them to follow Jesus all the days of their lives, they constantly lead me to my knees, reminding me I have to pray believing.

Whose footprints are you following and how childlike is your faith?

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