“But Jesus called for them, saying, ‘Permit the children to come to Me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all.'” (John 18:16, NASB)
Some would argue that this means God wants ignorant people, hence the suggestion to become “like a child,” but I think what Jesus is really saying is that He wants the pure, the innocent, the trusting, the humble, the joyful, the forgiving, the gentle, the kind-hearted — He wants the child-like hearts. These attributes all come naturally to a child. A child is born innocent. A child comes into this world pure. A child is naturally trusting. A child is the first to forgive. A child is a natural-born gentle and kind heart. I think when Jesus told His disciples that only those who become like a child will go to Heaven, He meant those who have these childlike characteristics. The ones who are pure and gentle and forgiving and kind and trusting, those are the ones who believe in Him and trust Him and love Him and will serve Him. Those are the ones who inherit eternal life.
I’ve had many conversations with people who don’t believe God is good or that He exists at all, because it just “doesn’t make sense” that He is. I’ve wracked my brain over and over for an answer for so long, and I think I may have finally reached the conclusion.
Maybe it doesn’t “make sense” that there is a God. Maybe it’s not logical to believe that there is a Being who existed before all else and Who created all things and yet somehow still cares for us, and loved us enough to send us a Way to inherit an eternal, spiritual kingdom and live there with Him forever and ever. Maybe it doesn’t make a lick of sense. I mean, physically there may be no proof whatsoever that there is a spiritual world, much less a loving Father who runs it all with mercy. (I do believe we have physical proof all around us that everything did not come from nothing. But I’m saying if you look at things strictly from a secular point of view, then no — there is no physical evidence for such a spiritual Being.)
So, with that having been said, maybe they’re right. It doesn’t make sense. Maybe it isn’t logical at all. So when I kept trying and trying to come up with an answer, I was searching for answers to all the tedious, minutely detailed questions I’d had thrown at me about how I could possibly know, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that there is a God, a Creator of all. And as I searched, I kept getting more and more overwhelmed and thought, How on earth do I know where to even begin to get an answer to all these questions?!
And then it hit me.
Maybe the answer to all those deep questions is actually the simplest of all. Maybe I was looking too hard for an answer when it was right there in front of me. Maybe I was looking for a complicated answer to complicated questions, when really the answer is quite simple. (“God is not the author of confusion,” you know.) So I decided to change my prospective from that of a logical, everything-has-to-make-perfect-sense kind of way, to that of a child’s point of view. Think like a child thinks.
I’d read the words of Jesus of Nazareth — whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all — hundreds of times, but not until now did things suddenly start to come together. I quit trying to look at things like probably a super smart, learned, PHD-titled scientist or scholar would, and looked at things much simpler — with the eyes of the child still hidden deep down in my own soul.
Jesus said to become like a child. Okay, so what does that mean? A child believes whatever he is told. Yes, a child will even believe a lie, but he believes it will all that he is. My dad used to tell my cousins when they were young about a (make-believe) “three-eyed bird” that would chase little kids, and they believed every word. Some might argue that this kind of blind faith in Something or Someone will just get us into trouble, is stupid, or makes us become like mindless sheep who will just do or follow or believe anything. But y’all, what we’re talking about here is something that the Bible says our entire eternal salvation depends on. Whether true or not, it’s nothing to sneeze at; it’s definitely not something to wave off as silly and useless, because if indeed it is true, then it is pretty stinkin’ important. So let’s give it a chance.
What I’m trying to say is that I don’t think the point of believing in God is that we have logical, physical evidence. That wouldn’t require any faith at all. And I don’t think the point of trusting that there is a Heaven prepared for God’s children is that we see actual proof before our very eyes. I don’t think that’s the point at all. But the first step to believing in Jesus Christ, in God the Creator, is to humble ourselves like a little child, and let go of the fact that every fiber of our being may scream in protest that it is an irrational belief, a hopeless ideal, a false faith. I think we have to let go of all that and just become again the children we once were, in our hearts, and simply believe that He is, that He was, and that He always will be.
Abraham had faith that there would be a Savior — and he never even got to see that promise come true; he never saw any bit of physical proof that what he believed was even the slightest bit true, but he let those doubts go and just believed. I think that’s what we have to do today — just let go of what we think of as “logical,” and trust that was the Bible says is true.
I honestly believe there is a God and that He loves me and sent His Son to save my soul, but when I get to thinking “logically” sometimes, I can see how so many do doubt His existence. I get it. It doesn’t make any sense whatsoever to my physical mind. But maybe it’s not supposed to. Maybe we just need to take what He said at face value, and stop looking so deeply into what everything may be. Faith is hope in the unseen, and if we could see with our own eyes an Intelligent Designer, what would we need any faith for?
Maybe it’s a blind belief, maybe I’m crazy, but I’m gonna take that leap of faith and believe, like a child, that there is a God. I’m going to put my faith in Him for the rest of my life, because no matter what may seem logical, if God’s Word is true, then nothing else matters more than the life of my soul, and that’s not something I’m willing to gamble away for the approval of the whole world.