Last week I was at New Wine (a Christian conference) and working on one of the kids teams. Now every day wasn't a school day because I had kids with me all week, it was a whole week of school days due to the lessons I was being taught and learning.
I'm sure we have all said at some point in our lives 'Ooh you learn something new every day', but how true is that statement? I think if you keep your mind open, your ears alert and you mix with people then it can be very true but if you choose to close yourself off from the world then who can you learn from?
The lessons I learnt last week came from an unexpected source. At a conference like New Wine you will find amazing worship leaders and inspirational speakers but my teachers for the week were much less renowned yet still amazing and still inspirational. My teachers were 11 year old children.
I like to think of myself as a child in an adults body. Maybe that's why I enjoy doing children's work so much. When it comes to messing about, playing silly games or jumping up and down to crazy worship songs, my inner child is released and I'm 8 years old again. But when it comes to my faith, reading the Bible, understanding about God and praying, my inner child gets tucked away and my 25 year old adult returns.
Now some may see that as a good thing. Surely a 25 year old will see things more clearly, understand more and have more faith and life experience but I don't think so. The 11 year old children in my group saw things more clearer than me, understood more than me and had more faith than me.
We prayed a lot at New Wine, especially for healing. When children wanted to be healed they told a leader or they stood up. No reservations, no fear, they stood there firmly believing, with their 11 year old unshakable faith, that God would make them better. Those children not standing up would reach out their hands to pray for the ones who were. Hundreds of little hands all raised towards sick children, hundreds of little hearts believing God could fix the problem. And you know what...He did fix the problems!
I wonder how many of us adults pray to God, with no doubts and no fears, firmly believing, with an unshakable faith, that He will fix the problems in our lives? I know for me, prayer isn't always my first port of call. I see it as inactive, I'd rather 'do' something to fix the hurts and the problems than sit and talk it through with God. But what can I do to fix things in my own strength?
We are called to have a childlike faith. It says in the Bible
"I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 18:3
The 11 year old kids in my group will all enter the kingdom of heaven. Yes, they are children but it is their faith that matters. They love God and they understand His love for them. They trust him and they know that with Him anything is possible. They pray to Him to fix their problems, not as a last resort, but as a priority because they know He will sort it.
And so I have learnt to be like the children in my group. To follow their example. I will come to God as my inner 8 year old child and not as a critical, questioning, fearing 25 year old.