By Tina Olesen
Have you listened to seven-year-olds pray? There is no hesitation, no holding back, no posturing, no self-consciousness. Just simple faith, and often a boldness that we adults shy away from.
One of my favorite subjects to teach is Bible. We have our daily time where we gather on the carpet, and begin with prayer.
This week in Bible we have been focusing on the cross of Christ. In one of our conversations about it, a student asked, “Why did the disciples leave Jesus when He was on the cross?” (Sometimes they ask me even tougher questions than this!)
One of the other students wanted to answer, so I let him. “They were scared.”
“But why were they scared?” came the incredulous reply. “They had God on their side!”
Another student interjects seriously, “But there were Roman soldiers. Those are tough guys.”
They all paused to consider this, some nodding in agreement.
But nothing could move this little man of faith. “They still should have done something!” he insisted earnestly.
We paused to consider that for a moment. Then I said, “You know, you’re right. As followers of Jesus, we are called to be brave. Even if it means dying for Jesus’ sake.”
“Yeah, and it doesn’t even matter if we die, ‘cause we’d be with Him anyways!” came the bold reply.
I looked at his face. He was dead serious.
So I told him, “This is what Jesus meant when He said that we should have the faith of a child. He wants everyone to have faith in Him like yours.” He beamed!
And it hit me afresh how it’s our faith that pleases God. Not the fancy words we try to use in prayer. Not the things that we do to try to get into His good books or impress Him. It is faith in His character that makes Him well pleased.
As I pondered this conversation, and how I am going to follow it up next Bible class, I thought about the disciples after the resurrection and after they were indwelt by the Spirit of Christ. What a radical difference there was in their faith! Then they were ready to lay their lives down for His sake, and by the power of His Spirit, they did.
This truth goes deep. It is the faith we display in His character, despite our circumstances, that proves to the watching world that Jesus is real, and that He is worth risking it all for. In doing so, we experience the sweet pleasure of God in our faith.
Sometimes it is overwhelming to me to think about the world that I am preparing my students to live in, but then I remember that it is in the times of the greatest challenges to the Christian faith that followers of Christ most display the faith in Him that proves He is worthy of our very lives.
“Yeah, and it doesn’t even matter if we die, ‘cause we’d be with Him anyways!”