In our last blog we were pondering Jesus words to His disciples, “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children you will never enter the kingdom of Heaven. Therefore whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of Heaven.” Matthew 18:1-4. We were looking at the child’s ability to trust. Today I was thinking about how that ability to trust like a little child is linked to humbling ourselves.
A child’s unspoilt ability to trust is there because the child perceives that the adults in his or her world are bigger, stronger, wiser than they are, and that they can be trusted because they feel themselves to be loved and therefore safe in the care of that adult. It is only when a child begins to perceive that there are dangers and difficulties in the world, that their carers are unaware of, or unable to control and ‘fix’ that they begin to realise that they have to take care of themselves.
I think it is a humbling thing for a grown up person to reverse that process and learn to trust another adult. So for example in a hospital situation we all feel that vulnerability, and we have to make that decision to ‘trust’ the surgeon. When we fly, we make the decision to ‘trust’ the pilot, the engineers who maintain the plane, and the air traffic control who guide the plane. We can do nothing but trust them all, (or, maybe you like me, put your trust in the angels who are watching over the whole procedure!) If we don’t trust, we will be feeling very anxious, and may find ourselves unable to do certain things.
It is a humbling thing to have to trust someone else for my well being and safety, and to the extent that I manage to do that I feel peace. If I can’t trust, then my anxiety levels rise. This, I think is why, anxiety among young children is on the rise. There are more and more situations where the adults in their lives are either untrustworthy, or have no power to guarantee their safety in different situations.
For us growing and maturing as Christians involves realising more and more just how trustworthy our wonderful heavenly Father is. The converse should therefore be true for us as God’s children. Our anxiety levels should be decreasing. Remember that Jesus said ‘ Do not worry…….. your heavenly Father knows that you need them’. Matthew 6:25-32. Which reminds me of a lovely Christian friend I had many years ago who, whenever I shared any trouble or worry would say “He knows Stella He knows”
When I become a Christian, I embark on a journey whereby I am learning to ‘trust’ the Lord. Trusting Him to guide my choices and decisions, open the doors for my career, provide for me financially, care for me etc. etc. In fact I am learning to trust Him with my whole life. I am learning to ‘trust’ again like a little child because I now have a wonderful, totally faithful, totally loving and totally powerful Heavenly Father. If I don’t humble myself and become more childlike in my faith and trust, I will find my anxiety levels increase and so the temptation to sin gets stronger.
This is because without a ‘childlike trust’ in the Lord, I will have to trust in my own abilities to sort life out. I am therefore more likely to become independent, make my own plans, go my own way, try and provide for my own needs. I may well even try to gain approval from God and others by my own efforts. Becoming a mature Christian, paradoxically involves becoming more childlike as I humble myself to seek my heavenly Father’s help and grace in every area of my life.
James tells us that ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble’ and then he encourages us to ‘Humble yourselves before the Lord and He will lift you up’. James 4:6,10. So contrary to how the world thinks, in the Kingdom of God it is good not to be self sufficient. It is good rather to be like a little child, to take ‘Abba’s (Daddy’s) hand, trust Him and receive His help and grace at all times.
Receiving involves three things, i) Being humble enough to acknowledge my need and ask for help ii) Believing that Father, Son, and Holy Spirit delight to ‘make all grace abound to me so that in all things at all times, having all I need, I can abound to every good work’, 2 Corinthians 9:8, and iii) giving thanks in faith, like a child accepting help, and thereby appropriating the ‘grace gift I am needing. Childlike trust grows as we humble ourselves and give thanks and receive all that we need, for every situation in which we find ourselves.