Christine Caine - Childlike Faith - Part 1
Hey everyone, I am so grateful that you have joined us today. I know that God has a specific word for you and I'm believing that that word's going to bring transformation and change to your life. Now, nick and I have got two beautiful, wonderful daughters, Catherine, who's 20 and Sophia who is 16. Now you have to know these girls are truly the delight and the joy of our lives, and I love it. I'm like one of those moms that have just enjoyed my girls getting older and older. I've loved their teenage years and we just have so much fun together. Both of my daughters are fun and they're quirky. They love Jesus and life with a passion. But let me just say, they're definitely fun and quirky, like they take after their dad, as you can tell.
Now, when Catherine was two, I think when your daughter hits like 20 like mine, I keep going back and remembering what she was like. I'm like that mother that have got all their photos stored on my phone and I scroll through when she was like a baby and I think, where has my baby gone? But I remember this one trip when she was two. We were still living in Sydney, Australia at the time, and we'd flown from Sydney, Australia to la. I was ministering in la and we had a fun day in Pasadena because the church I was speaking at was so close to Pasadena.
Now in this block, I remember we'd gone out shopping and we were walking from pottery barn because the pottery barn when you lived in Australia, the pottery barn kids section was so awesome and my kids could run around and play for a long time. And so any mother is looking for anywhere that your kids can kind of play in a store. But we were going from pottery barn to old navy. I remember this specifically, and it was one block walk. So that was it. This walk was one block, but it took us a solid two hours to walk the one block from pottery barn to old navy.
And the reason it took two hours is because all the way Catherine was walking, and you know how cute little kids are when they're walking. She was walking and she would stop every second, like no joke, not even every minute because it wasn't that long a walk, every second she would stop because she was captivated by every crack in the pavement. I remember she'd be like, mommy look. And she would go down and she would look at the little flowers and there would be like little bugs that she would see, and there would be little shrubs and then a little squirrel on the side. And I'm telling you, she picked flowers. She did the whole thing. I just wanted to get to the store. I was on a mission. It was like, okay, pottery barn, let's go get some basics for the kids at old navy.
And I was so eager just to get to the next door, but Catherine, Catherine was so immersed, in awe, captivated by this one block journey, this little journey. She was filled with wonder at every single thing we passed by. She was filled with delight at every minute detail along the way. I mean, she saw things I completely missed. I was like, on a mission, let's just go. I'm kind of very hunter gatherer when it comes to shopping, when it comes to purpose. I was like, let's go. She was captivated by the very same things that I just willingly chose to ignore.
You know why I'm repeating this story now and we're talking decades later, is because it impacted me so powerfully. There was something about the childlike wonder in her eyes. There was something about her childlike awe, there was something about that childlike spontaneity. She saw things in a totally different way than I did. We were in the same place looking at the same things, seeing two entirely different things. That one block journey in Pasadena that day, for my girl, it was like an adventure. We may as well have gone to Disneyland. We may as well have gone on a major, major adventure. The fact is that Catherine's innocence, her joy, her passion, her delight, her wonder and her amazement had such a profound impact on me that from that day I made a decision to start looking at things differently.
You know, God used my own daughter, who at the time was only two years old to teach me a valuable principle that has served me well over the last few decades of my life. And I pray and I'm believing that it's going to do the same for you today. I'm believing that your childlike awe and wonder and sense of amazement for God and his purpose on this earth, that something's going to be activated in you today where you might be feeling a little discouraged or disillusioned or disappointed. Maybe you're feeling a little bit cynical or maybe you've just lived life a whole lot and you go, Chris, that's great for a two year old kid. But what about me?
I've seen too much of life. I've gone through too much pain, too much suffering, too much hurt. And what we do without realizing it is we allow cynicism, we allow bitterness, we allow offense, we allow hurt. We allow just the pain and the suffering and the trials and the tribulations of life to take away our childlike wonder and our childlike awe and what we discover in the scriptures is that Jesus wants us to have that kind of faith, the kind of faith that is childlike that Catherine showed in that one block journey.
And in the book of Mark 10:13-16, I love this because it's says, "People were bringing little children to him in order that he might touch them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, 'let the little children come to me. Don't stop them because the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly, I tell you, whoever does not receive the Kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it'. After taking them in his arms, he laid his hands on them and he blessed them".
I love this scripture with a passion because it shows us that Jesus loves and he values, gives dignity and honor to children, particularly in a culture that didn't, where children should have been seen but not heard. Jesus loves children. Children are not an inconvenience to Jesus. They're not an intrusion to Jesus. They're not a bother. Rather, they are a blessing. Jesus does not think, children should only be seen but not heard. He welcomes them. Jesus makes time for children. He sees them, he loves them, he chooses them. In fact, Jesus said that you and I need to receive the Kingdom of God like children. In order to enter the Kingdom of God, a person must have basically trust and dependence that his characteristic of a little child, that we just trust God and we're dependent on God.
And it's always going to look a little bit weird to the world around us. A world that is all about proving and scientific rational and empirical evidence and technology. Man, it's like we want to stick Jesus in a test tube and prove his methods or stick him in a mathematical formula and say, this is how it works. But faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. We need to have this childlike faith that says, ultimately I believe in God and I know it doesn't make sense, but even when I can't trust him, I can trace him and I love him. It's interesting that normally as we grow up as believers and we mature, it's this very child likeness, that awe, that wonder, that sense of appreciation and gratitude, that kind of like one block journey that just becomes a whole adventure.
That's the thing that we tend to lose. We begin to intellectualize our faith to the point that we intellectualize God right out of it. We intellectualize faith right out of it. We think if you can't see it, taste it, touch it, smell it, feel it, hear it. It doesn't exist. We start to just think well look, prove empirically those miracles or signs and wonders. And we want everything that's provable, empirical, rational, tangible. We begin to 'credulize' our faith in that there's no room for mystery anymore. Everything's got to fit into a neat box and God's got to act just so, and if God doesn't do it this way, it's not God. It's all just got to be in neat boxes or in a bureaucracy or a system. And God could never work outside of the bureaucracy or outside of the institution.
And we start to put God in a box, we start to institutionalize him. And Jesus is like, I'm just out of here. I'm waiting for you to have this childlike wonder, this childlike faith. And we lose that awe, we lose that gratitude. We lose our joy, we lose our delight, our innocence and the simplicity of our faith. So instead of pursuing the abundant life that Jesus came to give us over time, we just end up going through the motions, mate hi ho hi ho, it's off to church I go, I just go through the motions of my quiet time. I just go through the motions of church attendance.
But the fact is we've lost that spontaneity. We lost the joy of our relationship with God. We've lost the joy of our salvation. We don't come into the house of God with thanksgiving. We don't wake up with the joy of the Lord being our strength and this sense of God's in our day. And when you go through life a little bit and you've encountered loss and setbacks, betrayal, disappointment hurt. It's so easy to become jaded, to become cynical. And I believe that God has been speaking to you today, those of you that have lost that childlike awe and that childlike wonder. And I want to encourage you today to ask God to give you back the joy of your salvation.
I just want a simple faith in Jesus because he is God. You know, when you have that sense of adventure, even in your normal mundane life, even in a life full of routine, at times suffering and trials and hardships and challenges, I always go back to that story with Catherine because you go, okay, it's one block and I'm on the pavement. But even in the midst of trials and tribulations and suffering and heartache and chaos and division and life not being like we thought it was going to be and not turning out like I thought it was, suddenly you see the flowers, you see the beauty, you see your sunrise, you see the sky, you see joy in relationship. You find the awesomeness of God in the daily routines of the mundane and the simplicity. But when you lose your childlike wonder, I could have taken and I have taken, let me just say, there are other times I've taken my kids and listen, that block seemed like 10 blocks because they were just murmuring, grumbling the whole way.
Mommy, I didn't like what was in that shop. Mommy, I want to go here, mommy, I don't. And they're missing the very thing that was amazing to them the week before, they no longer like, because they're just in a whole different place in their heart and their spirit, and that can happen to us when it comes to God. We're waiting for this big thing out there to happen to make us all excited. And God's like, I've got beauty all around you. I've got moments of joy. Take them, take that opportunity. Did you see that flower, did you see that sunset? Did you see that sunrise? Did you see that child over there? Did you see, this beauty, and we are surrounded by it and we miss it and we miss the joy of our salvation, especially when we start murmuring, grumbling and complaining, especially when we start being dissatisfied or discouraged or disappointed or disillusioned or we're full of offense or bitterness or unforgiveness, and we lose the joy of our salvation, we lose that spontaneity, we lose that gratitude.
You can have two kids that are walking on the same pavement. One is just full of murmuring, grumbling and complaining, and is just having a tantrum. And the other one is stopping at every flower. It's stopping at every pavement and little crack in the pavement is stopping at every little animal and squirrel and they're just full of wide eyed wonder. I wonder which one of those kids we are today, I wonder if God's looking at us. He's saying, which one are you? You're both in the same earth. You're all listening to the same news. You're living in the same world, you're breathing the same oxygen. You're surrounded by the same pain and suffering and heartache and trouble and all of the things that constitute life in a fallen world. Which one are you?
The wide-eyed wonder, Catherine man, two hours to walk a block because it was amazing. Or having a tantrum because I'm not getting my own way having a tantrum because God, I don't like this pavement. I don't like where I'm going because we can always be one of either of those two children. Here's the deal. If the same spirit that raised Jesus from the dead lives in us, then you and I have the power to stir up the gift of faith that God has given us and ask God to restore our wonder. Ask God to restore our awe, to show us the beauty around us every day, to help us look for the good in the people around us, to help infuse us with renewed passion and a renewed zeal for his promise and his purpose to be outworked in our lives. Listen, this is going to be a deal breaker for a lot of us.
The degree to which we can do this in our circumstances, the degree to which we can keep our childlike awe and our childlike wonder is the degree to whether we will walk through this life living the abundant life that God has for us or not. Often it's an attitude that we have on the inside. While we're waiting for our external circumstances to change, we must maintain our childlike awe and wonder at who God is. And in a world that is often antithetical to the Christian faith, in a world that often will look down at us and laugh at us for having any kind of faith, for believing in a God that we can't see, for living lives that are obedient to the Word of God, in a world that thinks perhaps even Christianity is dangerous or why would anybody want to follow this kind of religion.
You and I having our joy, having our peace, having our sense of awe or having our sense of wonder can be one of the greatest ways of being salt and light in the world around us, where people look at us and go, man, you're walking on the same pavement as us. You're seeing the same things as us. You're experiencing the same experience as us, but your entire disposition is different to ours. And that's because the same spirit that raised Jesus from the dead lives on the inside of you and lives on the inside of me. How's your child like faith today? You know, sometimes when we try to intellectualize it too much, we try to rationalize it too much. We try to fit in with the culture around us just so that we can be accepted. That's when we tend to lose our childlike faith, our childlike wonder.
I now over the last four years and went back to grad school and got my masters in evangelism and leadership, and I could just see the difference between professors that had kept their childlike wonder, even with all of their education, even with all of their training and others who had become cynical, negative, faithless instead of more full of faith. I don't want to be the kind of Christian that matures and increases in knowledge and wisdom and understanding and becomes less full of faith. I think the more we increase in godly knowledge, in godly wisdom, in godly understanding, the more full of the spirit we should be, the more childlike we should be.
Of course there are things we don't understand. Of course there is suffering. I will never be able to explain pain. I will never be able to understand or explain. But the fact is God is God, I am not. And I trust the character of God when I can't trace the person of God in the circumstances around me. I've got to keep that childlike faith, which is a trust in God in order to be able to navigate the turmoil in the world in which you and I live. The fact is every one of us has been through a really difficult last few years. There's no doubt about it.
There is so much pain in our world. There is so much suffering in our world. There is so much chaos in our world, so much division and contention. And if you and I are not careful, you and I can get stuck in bitterness. We could get stuck in a pattern of offense, stuck in unforgiveness. We could get stuck in disappointment. We could get stuck in anger, we could get stuck in disillusionment. And when we get stuck there, we lose that childlike awe. We lose that childlike wonder. I want to keep a childlike awe at the goodness of God. Even in a fallen, in a bad world, at the kindness of God, even in a really, really mean world. At the majesty and the greatness of God, even with all of the scientific advancements and all of the technological advancements, I still want to be more in awe of God than I am about the next Elon Musk space shuttle going to mars.
I want to be full of awe at the mercy of God because his mercies are new every morning. You know why they're new every morning? Because you and I need them every morning and I want to be full of awe at that. I want to be full of awe at the grace of God. I never want to take that for granted. I never want to be like a once and done. Man I needed the grace of God when I got saved three decades ago. No, no, I need it every day. I need it every day. I never want to take for granted the love of God. Sometimes we forget what is ours in Christ and we're so dissatisfied and we are so annoyed by what we don't yet have that we take for granted things like grace and things like mercy and things like forgiveness and things like love. And we just kind of roll our eyes at that stuff when that is the very stuff in this day and age that we need to have fresh appreciation for.
This is the kind of revival that we need, a revival of the joy of our salvation. What does it mean to be saved, to be redeemed, to be restored, to be forgiven, to be loved by the Creator of the universe, the God of the universe knows the number of hairs on your head. When was the last time that you thanked God for that? You and I need to remain childlike in the posture of our heart and in the pursuit of our plans and purposes of God. It is so important that we come and we receive the Kingdom of God as children. We're never going to be smart enough to understand it all. We're never going to be perfect enough to somehow think that I deserve it all.
There comes this sense of just childlike wonder that says, Jesus, you lived on this earth as a man. You died on that cross for my sins. You rose again on the third day, you ascended into heaven and sit at the right hand of the father and make intercession for me. And you are coming back again and there will be a New Heaven and there will be a new earth. And every tear will be wiped away and all suffering and all pain and all crime and all violence will go away and all things will be made new. I am in awe of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. I wonder today if you still have that childlike faith.