Saturday, February 28, 2009

Building the faith of a child

As my heart has prayed and pleaded for Clark (see the previous post), I've been thinking about faith.  This blog has readers of various faiths, so I like to let you know in advance when I'll be blogging about my beliefs as a Christian.  This is one of those posts.

The title of this blog post has a twofold meaning.  In seeking to build the faith of my child, Chickie, I find myself also building more of a childlike faith in myself.  A faith consisting of simple truths.  There is nothing wrong with the complex questions I often have about faith, but the Bible puts a high value on childlike faith, and I want more of it.

Yesterday before Chickie's quiet time (formerly her nap), I prayed for "Mr. Clark" and explained to her that he is very sick.  She had lots of questions, which I tried to answer in simple language.  And not wanting her to worry, I assured her, "You know what's great?  God has Mr. Clark and his family in his hands, and he's taking care of them."

And though I was trying to bring peace to the heart of my child, I also found myself feeling a greater peace in my own heart, as I focused on that simple truth.  Not knowing the future, I can focus on what I do know--God's got Clark in His hands.

That is a truth that I hope builds the faith of my child.  And it's a truth that builds childlike faith in me. 

Edited to add:
I just received this e-mail this morning.  It was written yesterday:

"He was stable thru the night and actually seemed better today. [His parents] went to a mtg with his doctor who is the head of the bone marrow transplant team.

HE was much more optimistic than the other doctor who had given Mark the "prepare yourself for the worst" speech. He even acknowledged the negativity of the other people on the floor but said he didn't see it that way since Clark had come this far and in his words "I am amazed he is still alive after all he has been through." So he said they will continue with a "full court press" to sort out each and every issue and fight it accordingly."

Thank you all so much for the prayers for this teenage boy!


Anonymous said...

Beth, when we went through the cancer scare with my dad, I found myself doing the same thing. Not that I had a whole lotta choice because my faith had honestly taken a back burner for many years. Not only did I have to re-discover for myself but my kids as well, so that we could all accept my dad's impending fate (thank goodness the doctor was wrong). Sometimes you just need to look at things a different way in order to "see" them again.

C. Beth said...

I was really touched by your comment, Sandi. Especially the last sentence. So profound and true. (And I was so relieved when the doctor was wrong about your dad--what JOYFUL news!!)

Anonymous said...

We started praying, and I requested prayer from my church family, when you mentioned Clark last month, and you can rest assured that prayers are still coming from great distances (we are in Ohio). I, too, am trying to rediscover and renew my child-like faith while teaching my sweet son (also an April '08 baby) about God's perfect plan. Thank you for starting my day by reminding me that God's hand never leaves my life. He is still faithful even when I feel faithless.

Call Me Cate said...

Without going into a lot of detail, I'm just going to say that I struggle very much with my own faith and your post spoke to me. Thank you for sharing it.

Continued prayers for Clark and praise that he has an optimistic doctor fighting for him. As much as I believe the attitude of the patient contributes to the outcome, I think it's also very important to have a doctor that hasn't rendered the situation hopeless. Bless that doctor.

C. Beth said...

Anna--thank you so much for the prayers from you and your church. I love what you said, "He is still faithful even when I feel faithless."

Call Me Cate--I'm really glad the post was meaningful to you. To be honest I struggle a ton with faith too. Kind of odd considering how big of a part of my life it is, but I still have big struggles with it. I agree with what you said about the doctor--so thankful for his fighting attitude!!!

Anonymous said...

I will be praying right along with you.

Our Scoop said...

Praise God! That is good news. I will continue to pray! Good explanation to Chickie...

Barga said...

I have never understood why one would build the faith of their child. Shouldnt it, in the end, be the childs choice to find the Truth as they see it? You should teach them how to reason, then let them find their own way

(just keep them away from cults)

Anonymous said...

Praying for Clark. I am so sorry that he and his family have to go through this.
Love, Becca

Rachel Cotterill said...

My father-in-law was very ill in December. At Christmas the doctors in intensive care were saying it was very unlikely he'd ever wake up, let alone go home again.

I haven't been a regular church-goer for a few years, but I've prayed more in the last two months than I ever did in church.

When I saw your first request, I added Clark into those prayers.

Throughout my father-in-law's illness, I could only reassure myself that if God was listening, he would surely do what was best for this man who is a pillar of his church community and the Gideon society.

Yesterday we went to see him in a different hospital, one geared towards rehabilitation. He was sitting up in a wheelchair and able to have a conversation. He's awake and he wants to go home as soon as he can (or sooner!). It's beyond anything we could have hoped two months ago.

I hope (and will continue to pray) there is a similar miracle waiting for Clark.

C. Beth said...

Mary, Our Scoop, & Becca--Thank you for praying!

Barga--Thank you for your thoughtful comment. I think it depends on your views on Truth. Is there an absolute truth? Does it matter if we find it? If the answer to those questions is yes, it seems important for parents to teach their children Truth, just as we teach them to look both ways before crossing the street, or to tie their shoes. If truth is more subjective, your view makes a lot of sense. (I buy into the former view, though.)

Rachel--What a wonderful story. I'm so glad your father-in-law is doing so well, and I thank you for praying!

beckiwithani said...

Beth - you probably know that I subscribe more to Barga's view than to yours. One of the ways in which we're opposite on the inside and identical on the outside.

Because, if there is absolute truth, shouldn't our children be able to find it by looking with all their hearts and (this is key, in my opinion) all their minds? And isn't a truth searched for and found more meaningful than one handed to us, unquestioningly, on a plate?

I do think we should tell our kids our opinions and beliefs (it would be a strange home to live in if we were all quiet about these things), but with the caveat: "Don't believe this because I say it. Believe what you believe because you've searched it out."

beckiwithani said...

Weird syntax in one of those sentences above. Let's clarify with some commas and a hyphen: "Isn't a truth searched-for, and found, more meaningful than one handed to us, unquestioningly, on a plate?"

C. Beth said...

Becki--I do understand your point of view, and it's a compelling one. I don't fully agree with it, but there will come a point when our kids are older when those ideas will apply more to my parenting than they do now.

It's not something I want to debate at this point, but I appreciate both of you being willing to state your views in non-inflammatory, thoughtful ways.

A Woman Of No Importance said...

C-Beth, I am glad you have a faith to keep you strong - I have a strong faith in people, their grace, goodness and love. I am still hoping for Clark's strength to continue to build, and I am so pleased that another medic's opinion has been more promising for him...

My own son is 17, so I appreciate just how difficult this must be for all concerned - Many blessings to you and your family, Clark and his loved ones x

Barga said...

"Barga--Thank you for your thoughtful comment. I think it depends on your views on Truth. Is there an absolute truth? Does it matter if we find it? If the answer to those questions is yes, it seems important for parents to teach their children Truth, just as we teach them to look both ways before crossing the street, or to tie their shoes. If truth is more subjective, your view makes a lot of sense. (I buy into the former view, though.)"

--Then why shoudl you teah your kids something subjective? You are saying that it is right to teach them about your version of God period even if it is wrong. You should instead teach them to find God (or not, if they go that way), and let them decide--

You two look way too alike

C. Beth said...

Barga--I know this might be frustrating when you'd like to discuss these issues, but my parenting and religious beliefs just aren't something I'm interested in debating in this forum.

Barga said...

I understand completely and respect that
If you wana chat at all about it you have my email

Tiffany said...

I'm happy to hear that Clark is in the hands of someone who hasn't "given up" and who will continue to do everything they can for him!

What a wonderful explination for Chickie! It's nice to be able to just hand our problems to God - it certainly helps to lift our souls a little bit when we know that we aren't the only ones dealing with our problems. I've always been a firm beleiver in "It's not happening to you, It's happening FOR you" - maybe we don't always understand what we are getting out of something but we are always getting something!

Anonymous said...

Beth - I love your observation about childlike faith. Having kids has really taught me that the more "powerful" I become, the more my faith in God needs to resemble that of the littlest people in my house. They are a great reminder to keep the wonder and trust alive in our relationship with God