Far From Blind: Faith Like a Child

A couple weeks ago at church I heard someone say,

“I just love working with kids.  Their blind faith is so inspiring.  I learn so much from them.  We all need blind faith like that, you know?”  

All the parents around me nodded in knowing agreement.  I joined them.  Ahh, kids.  Kids and their blind faith.  How sweet are they?

As I sat through the rest of the service, though, her words kept coming back to me and I realized that maybe I need to reconsider what it means to have faith like a child.  Matthew 18:3 tells us that if we don’t have faith like a little child, we will not enter the kingdom of heaven.  And more often than not, we take that to mean that we need faith that is blind.  Unassuming.  Easy.

I do not think it means what you think it means

As far as I can tell my kids don’t have blind faith.  No, thus far, at 5 and 7, they have faith (if we can call it that yet) that is exacting. Questioning. Dubious.  Exuberant.  Wondrous.  But it isn’t blind.  Not by a long shot.

When my husband and I haltingly try to explain some of the more obscure theology behind things like, say, the trinity or living proleptically, our kids don’t smile placidly, accept our awkward answers, and say, “gee, thanks, Mom, sounds good.”  Far from it. They usually follow up with question upon question upon question upon question.  And it’s us adults who lose steam long before the kids do.

Compounding the cliche of blind faith are the grown ups who seemingly strive to emulate this blindness.  I used to love the bumper sticker that says:

“The Bible says it.
I believe it.
That settles it.”

Done deal.  That’s the fruit of “blind faith” right there.  Don’t ask questions!  Don’t press in on the things you don’t understand.  Just believe.  The Bible is clear if you just let it be.

But as I’m learning from my own kids, that’s not what childlike faith looks like after all.

So what does it look like? What does it mean to have faith like a child?

kids don’t front

For starters, kids don’t front.  Mine don’t, at least.  They don’t pretend to understand things that are difficult to grasp and they call it out if things about God seem outlandish, unfair, unkind or just straight up weird.

kids don’t try to protect God

I worry and I fret about how God is coming across to my kids.  I have to fight the urge to sugarcoat things or change the way something sounds in a misguided attempt to make their faith strong somehow.  But they don’t do the same for me.  They don’t try to protect God for fear that my faith might be set adrift.  If something seems amiss or just kinda whack, they’ll say so, and let the chips fall where they fall.

kids let God be mysterious

Some might argue that this is where the “blind” part of the faith comes in but I think it’s part of the intrigue.  God is inside of me AND inside that exhaust pipe over there… coo-oo-ool.  It’s right up there with SpiderMan and Santa Claus.

kids are willing to struggle

My kids are willing to wrestle with God in ways that I still find difficult.  When they don’t understand something, rather than just say “ah well, the Bible says it so I guess I better believe it” or dismiss it out of hand as out-of-date and therefore irrelevant, my boys will just keep coming back with more questions.  They stay in the fight.

In our house we don’t really talk about “heaven” because, well, heaven always seemed dull to me.  We talk about “the new world” instead.  We talk about God one day making all things new.  We talk about God creating a place for us where there will be no more tears or sadness or sickness or dying.  That sounds pretty good to us.  But my youngest always wants more details.

Will I be able to talk to God there?  Will God make me a jetpack?  Will the stories in my head be real there?  And when will we all get there?  Right away when we die?  Or do we have to wait?

To which I respond over and over and over again: I don’t know.  I just don’t know, bud.  I hope so.  It’d be pretty great to have a jetpack, wouldn’t it?

My oldest, on the other hand, tells me on a weekly basis that he does not intend to live forever.  Because that sounds scary. Which, when you think about it, totally does.   He likes the idea of “the new world” but he’s got some doubts.


According to Mishpacha, among the many understandings of the word Israel are:

1. One who wrestles with God

2. One who is straight (direct, honest) with God

It’s this particular quality of engagement and confrontation with God that sets the nation of Israel apart.   It’s what sets the Church apart.  We aren’t supposed to submit without questions.  We aren’t meant to blindly believe.  We’re meant to struggle.  We’re meant to fight.  We’re meant to come back again and again and again and again.   Like children.