Step on that rake.

Our fourth son, Isaac, always had a slightly healthier imagination than the rest of our crew. As a preschooler, he spent a season of his life experimenting with his designated superhero powers. More than once, Isaac was observed tying a pillowcase around his neck, diving off our coffee table, and wondering why “the darn cape didn’t work.” (By our fourth male child, we didn’t spend a lot of time panicking about boys standing on furniture.)

Isaac was not a cartoon junkie. But like his dad, he did appreciate the finer points of how science was allowed to go slightly askew when Wile E. Coyote, Bugs Bunny, and other Warner Brothers characters were involved. For instance, a character squashed by a falling anvil will walk away from the scene looking and sounding like an accordion. That’s simple cartoon physics. Likewise, when stepping off a cliff, gravity doesn’t apply until the individual suspended in space realizes he is no longer on solid ground. Cartoon physics also permits two-dimensional black circular holes to be picked up and moved to alternate locations. And of course, when an individual is propelled with sufficient force through a solid wall, door, or billboard, they leave behind a perfect outline of their body, including ears, whiskers, and anything they were carrying. Animators sometimes call such a character-shaped hole an “impact silhouette.”

Isaac was at the height of his quest to test the veracity of cartoon physics the summer he turned four years old. He was out helping his mom plant the small plot of land we called our garden, and Rita watched as her curious son’s attention turned to the garden rake they had just used to loosen the soil. He studied the six-foot rake for several seconds, and then before she knew it, Isaac had turned it over—teeth side up—and stepped on it. Of course, the wooden handle sprang up off the ground and clunked him in the forehead. Delighted, Isaac shouted, “It worked! It worked!”

A four-year-old boy steps out in faith (on a garden rake) and responds with joy. That’s something an adult would never do intentionally. That’s because we’re so smart. We already think we have all the answers. But the truth is, we don’t.

Scientists desperately want to know how the universe began. They can’t know, so they speculate. As enlightened adults, our sense of justice compels us to agonize over the question of why illness or tragedy hits one family and not another. And since we can’t describe heaven, many of us choose not to believe at all.

The Bible tells us that at some point in our life, we need to be like a child who takes a step of faith. It’s a basic bucket-list assignment. To be curious. Wide-eyed. Dependent. Trusting. That’s what Jesus meant when he said, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3).

Afterward, once you have secured your citizenship in heaven, you can begin to ask those tougher questions.

When you ask about the universe, God will reveal his majesty in the stars—stars he hung in place. When illness and tragedy strike and you look for justice, he will give you comfort in his promise, “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away” (Revelation 21:4). If you wonder what heaven is like, he will give you a glimpse of glory when you are in fellowship with other believers or loved by your friends or family.

Again, God’s clear answers to life’s greatest puzzles may sound like nonsense to those who don’t believe in God. On the other hand, mature believers will ask, hear, and understand.

When Bible scholars consider the issue of childlike faith, they agree. It’s not being childish or ignorant or naive. Childlike faith means you finally see God as a trustworthy heavenly Father.

When new believers begin to mature in Christ, 1 Corinthians 13:11 applies: “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.”

For sure, maturing in your faith—the process of sanctification—is critical.

But once in a while—when you’re tired or beaten up, or when doubt creeps in—don’t hesitate to go to your heavenly Father and say, “Let me rest in you.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Sign up now to receive notes from Jay in your inbox. Just a few times per month.

Something short and sweet. A discovery. A warning. A reminder. A joke worth sharing.
Maybe an announcement about my schedule or a new product.
No spam. No pop ups. You can opt out anytime.

Something went wrong. Please check your entries and try again.