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faith like a child

"new york at night"
paper collage on cardboard panel
gregory a. milinovich

we live outside the town of clinton, new jersey, only about 20 miles east of pennsylvania. it is a affluent area, clinton, folded in the pennsylvania-style hills, draped in woods and dotted with oversized houses. as we drive from our home into the town of clinton, at the crest of one of those hills, you can see across the clinton valley, home of the restless raritan river, to another large hill just west of clinton. it is a hill of commerce, home to a large grocery store, a wal-mart, a tj maxx, and several other stores, not to mention a motel and restaurants. at night this gaudy corsage of commercialism is particularly an affront to the countryside around it, lighting up the otherwise dark sky. recently, as i was driving the boys into town one night and we were on that particular hill, jack pointed at the light polution and excitedly shouted, "daddy, look! new york city!"

i didn't have the heart to tell him otherwise.

it was raining that night, and we were headed to wal-mart to pick up something or another that we probably could not have conceivably lived without. by the time we were leaving, the rain had really picked up. so i quickly splashed the cart through the parking lot to the van, got cade into the car and, as quickly as i could, got to the other side of the van and put jack in his seat. as i was strapping him in he worriedly said to me, "hurry daddy, before the storm comes! hurry!" so i became an actor in his imaginative game, running around the van to the driver's side as if my life depended on it. when i finally escaped the cold rain and closed the van door, jack triumphantly yelled, "you made it! jesus saved you from the storm!"
i didn't have the heart to tell him otherwise.
or maybe i should say, i didn't have the heart to believe quite as freely and innocently and joyfully as my three year old son. maybe i don't have the heart to have faith like a child as often as i should. what if i could believe that salvation from the storm is just what i need and it is here and now and real? what would it be like if i could believe that new york city was no more than half a mountain away? Jesus said, "i tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'move from here to there,' and it will move. nothing will be impossible for you" (mt. 17:20).
i think God gives us children to help us remember this. because my belief has grown cloudy and full of 'reasonable doubt.' but not jack's. when he crawls into my lap for a bedtime story he doesn't question my existence or doubt my overwhelming love for him. he just rests in it. if only i could have faith like a child, even faith as small as a stinking mustard seed, i think i'd be saved from a great deal more of the storms i find myself in and i'd do a bit more resting in the arms of a God who sometimes wants nothing more than just to hold me.


pete s said…
Needed this today. Thanks.
julie said…
you hit the nail on the head. i got goose bumps just now...thanks for hitting ME over the head! next time i see jack i'm gonna squeeze him until his head pops off.
Mary said…
it truly amazes me what little children believe in at such a young age. we really should give them soo much more credit than we actually do. that was such a beautiful story. in the midst of dinosaur and shdragon growls...jack is an angel :)
Redbank Billy said…
One word for this "Nice!!!!"

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