I think it seems abundantly clear that of the many times we see Jesus showing value for someone that others in His day ignored, set aside, or disregarded, that Jesus loved and valued children.
I see it in Luke 18:17 when Jesus speaks about how a child receives the kingdom of God models how adults should as well. I see it again in Matthew 19:14 when His disciples appeared to be keeping the children from running to Him. Of course there are even more examples than two. In each case, His words convey value for children and also imply that children trust and believe far more easily than adults often do.
Perhaps it was also because children often seem to have an innate sense of whether a person is safe or trustworthy. I see how even an infant responds to someone who feels comfortable when holding him or her and those who do not. The infant cannot seem to relax if the person holding them is not sure of themselves and feeling ill at ease.
As I write this, I am seeing another story of the faith of a child unfold in front of my eyes.
Her name is Sydney and she is our 13-year-old granddaughter. If you would be in her presence for even a short time, you would discover her sharp wit, her no nonsense attitude and her great love for all animals, but especially birds.
You would discover her skill playing the violin and her entrance into the world of karate to connect with her older brother, 19, on a new level since he has entered college and no longer lives at home nine months of the year. You would see her hijinks with her younger brother, Nathan, 11, as they invented new ways to challenge each other and stir up new ways to keep everyone on their toes. You might even see her with her older sister, 15, as they sorted out the new Jamberry nail wrap styles to adorn their fingers and toes.
Her grandpa would tell you to be careful if she challenges you to a checker game because she takes no prisoners and he rarely succeeds in beating her in a game.
I would tell you she loves to have her back scratched or rubbed and loves snuggling in bed before she goes to sleep while I tell her stories of when I was a young girl growing up.
All of these things and more would be true, but today I want to tell you about her faith and the testimony it has been to those of us around her.
A few months ago, she was diagnosed with a severe thoracic scoliosis curve that would require major spinal surgery. Doctors’ visits and consultations allowed her to hear the straight facts about what that would mean for her. She learned about the six-hour surgery, the pain, the spinal fusion, the limitations, and the long recovery period and more. She learned about bars, screws, and donating a pint of her own blood as well.
Each part of it gave her parents and her grandparents pause. Two of her siblings welled up in tears at the news out of the empathy they felt for her. As we were catching our breath with each detail, Sydney’s response grabbed our attention for the clear signal it gave for her faith.
Sydney was clear-sighted and confident in the Lord. She spoke of how other family members had been faced with big things, hard things, and challenges and then said, “If you want to see God DO big things, you have to have circumstances which require big things. Won’t it be great to see how God meets each big thing between now and the weeks following surgery.”
To this point, she has not expressed fear and seems to see that as completely illogical. “Why would I be afraid if God’s going to be there with me?”
This week she has started a series of seven appointments leading up to surgery on July 13. In each one, she will take in more information for procedures and experiences for which she has no frame of reference, but faces with an assurance in the Lord whom she trusts and follows, the One who lives in her heart.
We watch and listen, humbled by her confidence and assurance as we face our own anxious thoughts and plan for what she will need from each one of us as she goes through this process.
We also celebrate what we see of her sweet, but tough relationship with the Lord. How grateful we are for the response of her heart to His nudge.
I could easily talk about either of our children or our other five grandchildren and evidences of God’s grace and faith in them on their own walks with Him, but for this post I would give space to Sydney and ask that you pray for her as well as all of us as we reach out to the hem of the Lord’s garment seeking His healing during the weeks ahead.
“Now faith is the evidence of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1 ESV