“But Jesus said, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children.”” Matthew 19:14
Children are resilient. We all know it; we’ve all seen it. The 4-year-old riding their bike down the street, taking a sharp turn, falls off and scuffs their knee, only to hop up and get back on the bike and continue on, smiling.
Just as much as they may be resilient, they are just as much dependent. Startled by a dream, a child runs to their parent's bedside in tears, seeking comfort.
What is childlike faith? It’s innocence. It’s dependence. It’s genuine. It’s trusting. It’s joy in suffering. It’s running through a grass field, laughing, shouting, and dancing.
In this beautiful encounter recorded in the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus invites the children to come to Him. Even in the midst of crowds of adults who are eagerly seeking his presence and probably have more questions to be answered and needs to be met than these children do, he casts his attention on them. He acknowledges the pure, untainted, and dependant hearts of children and proclaims that the Kingdom of Heaven is open to those who possess this same faith.
As adults, we find ourselves burdened with the worries of the world, entangled by distrust in people who hurt us, and burdened by the pursuit of worldly success. As Jesus often does, He reminds us of the “upside-down kingdom” that we belong to. Reminding us of the beauty and need of childlike faith—an unwavering trust, innocence, sense of wonder, and humble dependence on our Heavenly Father.
Children naturally depend on others for their needs. Without even knowing it, they understand their limitations and eagerly seek help from those they trust. In the same way, we should acknowledge our insufficiency and rely on the provision and wisdom of our Father. Surrendering our pride and self-reliance, humbling ourselves before the Lord, knowing that He is our loving Father who cares for us and meets our every need.
Children also possess a genuine sense of wonder and awe. They marvel at the simplest of things—a rainbow in the sky, a tiny insect, water rippling on a glassy lake, or the beauty of a flower. Likewise, in our journey of faith, we should never lose our awe and wonder toward our Creator but continually be captivated by His creation, His love, and His mercy. Approach each day with a childlike curiosity and appreciation for the miracles and blessings that surround you.
Jesus' invitation to let the children come to Him is an invitation for you and me to embrace this same childlike faith—a faith that trusts wholeheartedly, marvels at creation, is steadfast in suffering, and depends on Christ completely.