A Childlike Faith

Image in public domain courtesy of PxHere

And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” – Jesus, as quoted in Matthew 18:2–3 ESV

After a great start to the season, my favorite MLB baseball team went from first place to struggling to stay out of last place.

“No wonder they lose,” I grumbled as I listened to a game on the radio. “They keep putting in Vasquez as a closer.”

In a previous game he took the mound in the bottom of the ninth with a 3-run lead, walked three of the eight batters he faced, and gave up two earned runs, all with a grand total of 36 pitches. Yet he eked out the save. I was so upset I posted on Facebook “#notacloser.”

So when they put him in again I firmly believed he’d blow the save.

“Here goes the game,” I muttered.

Felipe came through. Then and in subsequent games. All he needed was someone to believe in him and give him another chance.

When did I become so cynical?

I thought of a recent Little League game I attended. Rain earlier in the day had filled the potholes with water, and there was a big one near where we set up our chairs – just outside the center field fence. You’d think drivers would see the big puddle, the people sitting nearby, and either go around it or through it slowly. But no, several drivers hit it dead center at a good speed, spraying muddy rainwater five feet away.

So I yelled at every driver that splashed through the puddle and gave the “dare stare” to everyone who approached it. I thought DH was going to find someplace else to watch the game. But I just didn’t feel like being nice.

So not like me – being cynical and critical. I’m usually accused of being too nice, too gullible, too patient.

Which got me thinking about cynicism.

Why are adults so cynical?

Life has made them that way. Disappointment, unmet expectations, unfulfilled dreams, squashed hopes, disillusionment – all breed doubt.

We think we’re being wise by being cautious, but, really, are we? Aren’t we just being cynical? Does it have to be that way?

Don’t you miss being a kid? Not bridling your enthusiasm, not restraining your joy. Children readily believe, trust and forgive. They aren’t afraid to hope. They dream big and believe their dreams will come true. They aren’t cynical or critical. They’ll give you a second chance. They’ll laugh at being splashed. After all, it’s only water with a little bit of dirt.

“Unless you turn and become like children,” Jesus said, “you will never enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3).

Nor will you truly enjoy life. While I can give myself good marks in the faith department, I can’t in life.

Yes, we have bad days, times when we simply don’t feel like putting up and shutting up. But I don’t need to act out my frustration and momentary unhappiness.

I have some work to do.

Renew my childlike faith, Lord – in You and in life. Squash the cynic and critic in me. Give me the courage to unbridle my joy, set my enthusiasm free, and fling my hopes and dreams to the stars that they may soar. Amen.

Read and meditate on Mark 10:13–16.

© 2018 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.

Eye Troubles

Open my eyes to see wonderful things in your Word. – Psalm 119:18 TLB

I haven’t had a prescription change for my glasses for years, so when my vision became increasingly blurry, I thought that was the problem.

But no.

“I can change your prescription,” my eye doctor told me recently, “but that will improve your vision only 20 to 30 percent. The problem is cataracts.”

Oh, the joys of growing old.

While I knew I had cataracts for several years, they weren’t bad enough cause any problems besides a slight blurring of my vision, which my glasses corrected – to a point. But as the cataracts progressively worsened and blocked more and more light, they began to interfere with my everyday life. Simple things I took for granted became a struggle.

For example, I can’t recognize faces until the person is almost right in front of me. So if you see me and it appears that I’m ignoring you, I’m not. I just can’t recognize you or see the smile on your face.

Seeing words clearly on the computer monitor is another challenge. I’m a perfectionist, and the number of typos getting past these once eagle eyes irks me to no end. (Yes, I edit emails, text messages, Facebook posts, and other casual forms of written communication.)

I won’t drive at night these days, as the glare of oncoming headlights makes it even more difficult to see. Driving during the day isn’t much better, since I can’t read the road signs until I’m up upon them.

Reading the scoreboard at my grandson’s baseball games is just as frustrating. And you know how big those are.

But this will all change after surgery. I’ll be able to see clearly again! Hallelujah!

We can have spiritual cataracts. They, too, grow slowly, over time. At first we aren’t aware anything is clouding our spiritual vision, but eventually everything that was once clear becomes blurry.

What causes spiritual cataracts?

Many things – and they all block God’s light from entering your spirit.

First on the list is sin. Sin causes us to see things as we want to see them, not as God does. We lose our divine perspective. The cataract gets worse when we deny sin’s existence, continue to do what we know we shouldn’t, and when we justify our wrongdoing (wrong actions, wrong thoughts wrong attitudes).

Another cause of spiritual cataracts is doubt. Doubt, put simply, is not believing God, His Word, His promises, His goodness. When you doubt, God, you are saying, in effect, “I don’t trust You.”

Close to this is the cataract of cynicism. Life has slammed you once too many times, and you’ve lost the ability to see good in any person, situation, or experience. Bitterness builds up, and you erect a wall around your heart, refusing to let anyone in for fear of getting hurt again.

Lack of passion for God and His Word is another cause of spiritual cataracts. When I first became a believer, I was on fire for God. When I read His Word, understanding, excitement, and enthusiasm filled me. Joy overflowed. But as time went on and life happened, the fire sputtered.

Like with any fire, you can’t expect it to burn on its own. A fire needs fuel. And that fuel is taking the time for God – to talk to Him in prayer, to read His Word whether or not I understand it, to consciously be aware of His abiding presence in my life.

This leads to my final cause of spiritual cataracts: busyness. I must carve out time to sit down, read the Word, and talk to God. While it could be any time, I find morning, before I begin my day, is best. Because if I don’t, I get so caught up crossing things off my to-do list, the day is over and I haven’t taken time with God.

I keep a quote by Hudson Taylor on the front page of my prayer journal: “Do not have your concert first and tune your instruments afterward. Begin the day with God.”

The remedy for spiritual cataracts is the same as for physical ones: Removal. Confess sin, dispel doubt, squash cynicism, starve apathy, and boot out busyness.

Eye trouble? Here are some Scriptures to help you:

“Fix my eyes on Your ways” (Ps. 119:15 ESV).

“Open my eyes to see wonderful things in your Word” (Ps. 119:18 TLB).

“Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things” (Ps. 119:37 ESV).

Open the eyes of my heart, Lord. I want to see You. Amen.

Read and meditate on Psalm 119:10–40

© 2018 Michele Huey. All rights reserved. Image in public domain.