Sound Theology from a Second Grader

As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”

“Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”

After saying this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes. “Go,” he told him, “wash in the Pool of Siloam” (this word means “Sent”). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing.

His neighbors and those who had formerly seen him begging asked, “Isn’t this the same man who used to sit and beg?” Some claimed that he was.

Others said, “No, he only looks like him.”

But he himself insisted, “I am the man.”

“How then were your eyes opened?” they asked.

 He replied, “The man they call Jesus made some mud and put it on my eyes. He told me to go to Siloam and wash. So I went and washed, and then I could see.” (John 9:1-11)

This morning I shared with my eight-year-old son, Noah, what I read in John 9 during my devotional time. It was the account of Jesus healing the blind man by spitting on the ground, making mud with his saliva, and putting it on the blind man’s eyes. I wondered aloud why Jesus would have to make a mud concoction out of his spit and put it on the eyes of the blind man in order for the man to regain his sight. Why didn’t Jesus just touch the man’s eyes and enable him to see? Noah’s wise response to my question blew me away! He explained, “Jesus always did something weird so that people would have to trust him”.

After considering Noah’s insightful comment, I realized he was spot on. The blind man demonstrated faith first by allowing Jesus to rub mud made with spit on his eyes, and then by obeying Jesus’s command to go and wash in the Pool of Siloam. How ridiculous the blind man must have felt going to the pool with mud covering his eyes! Yet he was rewarded for his faith by the restoration of his vision.

My son’s observation brought to mind other instances in the Bible when Jesus required a demonstration of faith for healing. In Luke 17, Jesus encountered ten lepers as he was going into a village on his way to Jerusalem. The lepers “stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, ‘Jesus, Master, have pity on us!’” (Luke 17:12b-13). Before they were even healed, Jesus instructed them to show themselves to the priests. The lepers were cleansed as they went. Imagine the tremendous faith the lepers must have had to make their way to the priests to be declared clean before Jesus healed them! When one of the healed lepers came back to thank and praise Jesus, Jesus told the man, “…your faith has made you well” (Luke 17:19; emphasis mine).

In another Bible account, when the Roman centurion’s highly valued servant was at death’s door, Jesus went to the centurion’s house. Before Jesus reached the house, the centurion’s friends met Jesus and passed along the centurion’s message to him:

“Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you come under my roof. Therefore I did not presume to come to you. But say the word, and let my servant be healed. For I too am a man set under authority, with soldiers under me: and I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” (Luke 7:6b-8).

The Bible says that Jesus marveled at the things the centurion said because not even in Israel had Jesus found such faith. The centurion’s friends returned to the house to find the servant well.

So why does Jesus do “weird” things (no irreverence intended) that require us to demonstrate our faith? It’s simple: Faith pleases Jesus.

“Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (John 20:29; emphasis mine)

Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy (1 Peter 1:8).

The Lord speaks to me in so many ways. Today I was reminded of an important spiritual truth from one of my favorite people – my amazing second grade son.

 

Faith Like a Child

My seven-year-old son Noah is a real trooper. He had a cough that wouldn’t go away, so after several trips to the pediatrician he was finally referred to an allergist. After subjecting him to a round of skin testing, the allergist confirmed that, among other things, Noah was allergic to dust mites, mold spores and pollen – ubiquitous environmental substances. We decided to start him on immunotherapy, a long-term treatment of allergy shots that hopefully results in decreased sensitivity to allergens and lasting relief from allergy symptoms.

The first few months of immunotherapy are known as “the build-up phase”, which involves giving the allergic person multiple shots per week in gradually increasing doses to build up their tolerance to the allergen. I currently take Noah to get his allergy shots three times per week. In addition, I am supposed to squirt a prescription nasal spray for his allergies into his nostrils twice daily.

Noah also has braces and an expander in his mouth, which is unusual for a kid his age. Apparently, young kids with corrective devices in their mouths is becoming a more standard orthodontic practice, but currently Noah is the only one in his entire grade with brackets on his teeth.

Never once has my brave little kiddo complained about being subjected to all of this poking, prodding and pricking by the medical and dental professionals. He just goes along with it in his happy-go-lucky way, placing his absolute trust in me for his care and protection. I am so proud of him for his courage and willingness! Though Noah certainly doesn’t enjoy these procedures, I am amazed and awed by his unquestioning faith in me that I’m only doing what’s best for him over the long haul.

Noah’s submission leads me to wonder why I so often lack the same faith and trust in my Heavenly parent, God the Father. Even after walking with the Lord for 16 years, I still question whether He’s doing what is best for me. I still sometimes doubt His love for me. And instead of going along with God’s plan in a happy-go-lucky way, I frequently whine, moan and complain when I have to do things I don’t want to do or when things don’t go the way I want. Faith Like a Child

Psalm 103 tells us that God is a tender and compassionate Father:

The Lord is compassionate and gracious,
    slow to anger, abounding in love.
 He will not always accuse,
    nor will he harbor his anger forever;
he does not treat us as our sins deserve

    or repay us according to our iniquities.
 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
    so great is his love for those who fear him;
 as far as the east is from the west,
    so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

 As a father has compassion on his children,
    so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;
 for he knows how we are formed,
    he remembers that we are dust.
 The life of mortals is like grass,
    they flourish like a flower of the field;
 the wind blows over it and it is gone,
    and its place remembers it no more.
 But from everlasting to everlasting
    the Lord’s love is with those who fear him,
 and his righteousness with their children’s children—
 with those who keep his covenant
    and remember to obey his precepts. (Psalm 103:8-18; New International Version, emphasis mine)

Though I always revere the Lord, I am comfortable going to Him with the anger, frustration, disappointment and confusion I sometimes feel toward His plan for me. Thankfully, God remembers that “we are dust” and He is “slow to anger, abounding in love”, so He puts up with my sniveling.

I’ve been struggling for the past couple of months with stomach problems. I have been in pain and discomfort, and my diet has been limited to a short list of foods my stomach can tolerate. I expressed to the Lord my extreme displeasure with Him for allowing me to go through this on top of my other Fibromyalgia-related health problems. I again began to question whether God really had my best interest at heart. But then I remembered these encouraging words spoken by Jesus about the love the Father has for us:

“Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Luke 11:11-13)

These verses reassure me that God as our Father gives us gifts far above and beyond the best gifts that the best of our earthly fathers could ever offer. The Lord’s heart toward us is not hard and cold like stone, but rather He is kind to us and provides for our needs in the best way possible when we ask Him. He never turns a deaf ear to our pleading, and He is ready to bestow blessings on us.

Warriors, our commander-in-chief leads us not like a drill sergeant waiting for us to screw up so He can make us drop and give him 50 push-ups! On the contrary, Jesus assures us of the Father’s compassion, grace and love for His children. I pray that we will experience His love to the very depths of our being, and that the knowledge of His love for us will give us the courage we need to face our battles. May our faith be like that of a child.

This awesome song by Jeremy Camp reminds me to Walk by Faith.

References:
Allergy Shots (Immunotherapy). American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. Web. 15 June 2015.