What is there about children and their childlike faith that the Lord wants us as adults to emulate?
The Savior said, ” Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18: 3 in the Bible)
“And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,” (Joel 2: 28 in the Bible)
We get clues from the scriptures about the childlike characteristics the Lord would like us as adults to adopt.
“For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love…” (Mosiah 3: 19 in the Book of Mormon)
Teresa Star shared her experience:
“Daniel ran into the yard and asked me, “If I look up at the sky and smile, will God smile back at me?”
It was the morning before my son, Daniel, had his first day of kindergarten, and he had a few concerns about leaving home to attend school. I wanted to make sure that he felt prepared to meet the challenges in the “real world.” I told Daniel that I would miss him very much while he was away. I assured him that even though I couldn’t be with him at school, he would never need to feel afraid or lonely because his Father in Heaven would watch over him. I reminded him that he could pray anytime, anywhere and that God would always hear him.
As I spoke, Daniel, barely five years old, listened very intently and after some thought he responded, “Can He see me when I’m in my house?” “Yes,” I assured him”. “Can He see me when I’m outside?” he asked.
“Yes, He can always see you,” I replied.
With a look of excitement, Daniel ran immediately to the backyard. I followed closely behind him. Daniel looked upward at the cloudless, blue sky and asked, “If I look up at the sky and smile, will He see me and will He smile back?” Rendered speechless from the lump in my throat and the tug on my heartstrings, I nodded, “Yes!”
Still looking heavenward, this time with squinted, searching eyes and perfect, childlike faith, Daniel thoughtfully asked, “Can I see Him”. “You might not be able to see Him,” I replied, “but you will know He is there because you will feel His smile in your heart.” Daniel stood smiling as he gazed into the heavens. From the peaceful look on his angelic face, I knew he was experiencing that divine smile deep in his soul.
From the mouths of babes we learn much about pure faith–the faith we hope they’ll cling to forever. Inevitably they discover that although life is good, it’s sometimes hard. We pray that their faith will sustain them.
When times get tough in my own life, I remember Daniel’s example, and with all the childlike faith a grown-up can muster, I too look searchingly heavenward and ask, “Can He see me?” Then, Daniel-like, I quietly ponder, “Can I see Him?” As I consider the multitude of His tender mercies in my life, the Holy Ghost confirms that I have truly felt Heavenly Father’s love. Renewed in my faith and inspired by hope, the Spirit assures me that I always can.”
DEVELOPING CHILDLIKE FAITH
On a personal note, when I was a child, I had some of my prayers answered immediately or almost immediately which developed in me a strong faith that God was there, listening and answering my prayers. As I grow older and became acquainted with the world and the faithless philosophes of the world, I found it required much more spiritual effort to receive answers to prayers (compared to when I was a child). As an adult I realized in order to maintain my faith I had to be humble, submissive, and teachable by the Spirit. One thing that has helped me is to realize I am still a child as it relates to my knowledge, understanding and capability compared to the Great Creator of the universe, this earth and my amazing, complicated physical body. What strengthens my faith is to realize that the “Great Creator” is my loving Heavenly Father and I am His son. If I trust in Him and His Beloved Son Jesus Christ and seek His help and direction, He will help me through the worldly destructive land mines of sin and lead me to accomplish my earthly mission and be prepared to return to His presence.