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)
A Child Leads the Way in Exercising Faith
I read an interesting article of one family’s experience that highlights childlike faith. “Some time ago, my wife and I took our two youngest sons to France to tour the areas and historical sites. One site was the ruins of the Château de Châlucet. This massive medieval castle was attacked and largely destroyed centuries ago. Vegetation had grown all around the ruins, and the trail to get there was narrow and steep. We had a difficult climb, but it was worth the effort once we arrived. The boys loved climbing down into what was once the dungeon and high up on what little was left of the castle walls. The castle captivated their imaginations just as it had captivated mine 24 years earlier. While we were there, a summer storm appeared in the distance. It moved in fast. Dark clouds and lightning filled the sky, followed by great claps of thunder. We scrambled down the trail and made a run for the car as the storm raced toward us. Soon, torrential, pounding rain drenched us and the dirt trail turned to mud. We worried that we would lose our footing and fall down the steep, rocky trail.
We spotted some shelter among the trees on the edge of the path. We huddled together under the shelter and wondered how long we would have to wait to get back down. ‘Let’s say a prayer,’ our youngest son said.
He asked to offer it and prayed that the rain would stop so we could get down the hill safely. He looked at us and said, ‘Now all we need is enough faith.’ I explained that prayers don’t always work like that. ‘No,’ he said, ‘it’ll stop in 10 minutes!’ After about 10 minutes, the rain stopped.
‘OK, let’s go!’ he said, ‘If we leave now, the rain will start again and we’ll be trapped,’ our older son said.
‘It won’t!’ our youngest replied. ‘Let’s go!’ We made our way through the drier parts of the path, holding back bushes and branches as we went. Back at the car, we offered a prayer of gratitude. Soon the rain started again.
‘See what a little faith can do?’ our son said humbly. He taught us all a great lesson that day.”
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.
I quoted from the true story written by Godfrey J. Ellis and printed in the Liahona Magazine April, 2020