Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
Children have faith, and are often used as examples of faith.LUKE 18:17 "Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it."
Children believe. We may not understand how it is that God works faith in children, except that we know that Godís Word has great power, and that faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God, so children, even before birth, have opportunity to hear the Word of God, and for the Holy Spirit to work faith in their hearts.
PSA 22:9-10Yet thou art he who took me from the womb; thou didst keep me safe upon my mother's breasts. Upon thee was I cast from my birth, and since my mother bore me thou hast been my God.
PSA 71:5-6For thou, O Lord, art my hope, my trust, O LORD, from my youth. Upon thee I have leaned from my birth; thou art he who took me from my mother's womb. My praise is continually of thee.
The job of parents is to shape the faith, and form the faith, and encourage the faith and to teach the faith. Children have a longing to be filled with good things.
How much do children believe? Well, I remember a child who showed me a jar that was very special, but I couldnít open it, but there was something inside. To me the jar looked empty, and I couldnít imagine what was inside, so I asked, Whatís inside? "The Wind," the child said, "I caught it."
We canít see the wind, or touch the wind, or taste the wind, we can only hear it, and feel it. Yet no one doubts that the wind exists. In many ways faith is like the wind; we canít see faith or touch faith, or taste faith, we can only hear it, and sometime we feel it, and although no one doubts the wind, many doubt the faith.... although children generally believe.
For many, the substance of things hoped for is found in their dreams. Not the bad dreams, but the good dreams, and one can almost imagine dreams to be "the good that I would that I do not." Somehow they escape, and are forgotten. Hope always has its roots in faith, and as our life is to be one about growing in faith, it would seem that we should also be growing in hope... However that does not seem to be our experience, the passing of time seems to bring with it a growing skepticism.
It troubles children, when they see us loosing our hope. Even children know that this is not the way its supposed to be. I remember a story a father told me, "Times had been hard, and nothing seemed to be working right. And he remembers that he had said over supper, that he was loosing hope, and his dreams seemed to be slipping away. After supper he settled into his chair and slipped off into a nap, and when he woke, his child was standing over him, holding a butterfly net. Now this might have made sense if it were outside, or if the windows were open, .... but not in the living room, and not in the midst of winter, when only the snow flies. And under normal circumstances he would have launched right into lecture #123, about how there are certain things you donít do in the living room, but as he woke in a good mood, feeling refreshed, instead he asked: "What are you doing?" And the child smiled and said, "I was catching your dreams, so you wouldnít loose any more hope."
Faith is a powerful thing. Faith is also a gift of God. God gives us a faith that can change our lives. God gives us a faith that makes us a new creation. God works faith through His Word. And as certainly as God has called us to follow Jesus our Savior, so God has called us to grow in faith. Sometimes children are examples of how we should be growing in faith [instead of growing out of faith]. Yet there are other examples of faith, the Bible is filled with their stories. Enoch, who by faith walked with God. Abraham, who by faith followed God to a new land. Sarah, who trusted the promise, and received the power to conceive. Faith is often tied to hope of new life. So by faith Moses led the people of Israel, looking forward to a new life in the promised land. The list goes on and on.
And the point of it all is to encourage you, so you might know that the grace of God is sufficient. The point is to encourage you, so that you do not loose hope, but instead, to remember the promises of God, the love of God, and the salvation that is ours in Jesus Christ.