by Jean Roesler
In a sermon recently, we were reminded that we are to have faith like that of a child. Faith that is trusting, just as a child trusts a father’s voice when he calls her to come to him for safety. Faith that is comforting, just as a child runs to her mother’s arms when she’s hurt. Faith that is reassuring, just as a child cries but is reassured of a parent’s love. Faith, the way it should be. I have to chuckle whenever I think about my faith as a child. It looked nothing like that above, but hopefully, it made God smile!
I remember when I was a kid we had a sermon that Jesus would come back as a thief in the night. I took that literally. I lied awake at night trying to determine what to do if a thief broke into my room. How would I know if it were a real thief or Jesus? Would he be wearing all black? What was he doing at my house anyway?
And then there’s my faith “as told on the big screen.” I learned much of my Bible history at the drive-in movies, clad in pajamas, sitting in the back seat of the family car. A movie that had a lasting impression on me was, The Story of Ruth. It began with little girls lined up being chosen for sacrifice. Ruth, of course, was the prettiest little girl, perfect in every way, and the obvious choice. Just as she was about to be chosen, a brown spot suddenly appeared on her arm. Such an imperfection would not be suitable for the “gods” and she was passed over. I don’t even remember the rest of the story, but forever in my mind, Ruth was the little girl with the brown spot. As an adult I did my first Bible study on the story of Ruth. I was so excited to actually know something, so I proudly stated that she was the little girl with the brown spot. Much to my dismay, did I learn, that that’s not even in the Bible. Theatrical license had done me in.
And then there’s the faith of a competitive child. Attending Vacation Bible School one summer I memorized over 200 Bible verses so that I could get the 1st place prize of a cross necklace. While other kids were playing games at recess time, I was reading my Bible memorizing any verse I could. I was good at memorizing. I didn’t have a cross necklace and I wanted it! On the last day the time came to award the prizes. Of course, I came in 1st. I was so excited to get my cross, except, for one thing—the cross necklace was the 2nd place prize. Imagine my disappointment. Worse than that, the teacher said that next year, people would have to say the verses they memorized. That scared the daylights out of me as I’m quick to memorize but only have a 10 second recall. That was the last Vacation Bible School I attended.
Scarier than having to say Bible verses was the night I prayed to see Jesus. Earnestly I wanted to see Him. I needed to see Him to make sure he was real. With my face in my pillow I pleaded to see Jesus. I turned over, and there in my room was a small shinning light. I was sure it must be Jesus and I quickly turned back over, and just as earnestly prayed that I didn’t need to see Jesus any more. He could go back. But when I turned over again the light was still there, and would be there until daylight, when the streetlight lamp shining through the small hole in my window shade would be turned off.
Father, faith as a child is a gift. It brings back sweet memories. I hope I made you smile. But faith through aging eyes is its own gift, a gift to see your blessings, grace, mercy, and faithfulness. Thank you.
What faith stories as a child do you have that made God smile? Share them with us.
Great story Jean! Nice gift to be able to memorize readings, and YES you did make me smile, thanks for that!