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  • Writer's pictureJen Stone-Sexton

The Faith of a Child

Do you find it hard to trust? Jesus sees you as precious. You are wanted, welcome loved and forgiven. Read the blog to learn the blessing of coming unhindered to Jesus with childlike faith.

The people brought children to Jesus, hoping he might touch them.

The disciples shooed them off. But Jesus was irate and let them know it:

"Don't push these children away. Don't ever get between them and me.

These children are at the very center of life in the kingdom. Mark this:

Unless you accept God's kingdom in the simplicity of a child, you'll never get in."

Then, gathering the children up in his arms, he laid his hands of blessing on them.

Mark 10:13-15 (MSG)

On a cold, clear day in early February I sat in a theater style conference room with about a hundred other women who had come to The Cove at the Billy Graham Training Center just outside of Asheville, surrounded by the beautiful mountains of North Carolina. We were here for a retreat called The Esther Experience based on the book of Esther.

It was a difficult season of my life. My heart was heavy with the grief, loss, sadness, and pain of betrayal in relationships, a job that had seemed promising turning out not to be, struggling with depression, and plans gone awry. I had moved from middle Tennessee to east Tennessee a year-and-a-half earlier, only to find myself packing up to return to the middle area of the state. I felt alone and afraid.

The women, leaders and volunteers at the retreat and at The Cove exuded warmth and kindness. As I felt enveloped in God’s love, my heart began to open to the messages of the retreat. One of which, was how God is active, working in and through our lives, and present, even when we can’t see, hear, or feel Him. And another, about having the courage to trust Him, even when circumstances are dire and daunting.

At the end of the weekend, we were all gathered in the conference room for the final session of the retreat. Behind the platform where the speaker stood was a long wall of floor to ceiling windows which showcased the vast and majestic beauty of the surrounding mountains. However, a screen was drawn over the windows, creating a solid background.

The retreat speaker guided us through a prayer and a time to listen for what God would speak to our hearts. What God spoke to my heart was, ‘Trust Me.” Trust was my greatest challenge. Having trust betrayed as an innocent child made trusting people and God nearly impossible. I wanted to, but couldn’t quite get there. So I relied on myself and my own strength and ingenuity more than I did God.

Before the quiet prayer time ended, we were asked to write on 3x5 cards whatever we needed to let go of, whatever we needed to give to God. Then we were to nail it to a wooden cross, which was outside on the expansive balcony of The Cove. My eyes had been closed during this time, and when I opened them what I saw brought tears.

The shade covering the windows had been lifted and we could see the stunning beauty of the mountains and a cross on the deck. One by one, women went out and nailed their pain, past, promises broken, and prayers to the cross. As I sat in silence, the picture which came to my mind was the word TRUST across the beam of the cross with U in the center. “I can trust U, Jesus.” I can trust you. I wrote my fear and pain on a 3x5 card and with tears streaming down my face, nailed it to the cross. An act, in and of itself, profound in significance and meaning. Surrendering my pride, my way, my own self-reliance. Choosing, as an act of faith, to fully trust Jesus going forward.

Since then, fifteen years ago as I write this, I have learned to trust God. He alone is worthy of my trust and He will never betray it. He is faithful, gracious, compassionate and kind. I can trust Him. Over and over, as I have faced challenging situations, or difficult seasons wrought with change and loss, I remember His faithfulness. I remember His promises. I cling to His Word. My heart is encouraged and my hope strengthened.

{my graphics are inspirational gifts for you}

People were bringing little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Mark 10:13-14 (NIV)

I am a huge fan of the series, The Chosen. In addition to the series, devotional books and Bible studies have been written to help us apply the lessons and truth to our own lives. In The Chosen, 40 Days with Jesus, Book 1, I love how the authors describe the faith of a child and childlike trust.

“Children are simple. They’re appropriately awestruck by the world around them. They’re wide eyed and expectant and moldable and trusting. By nature, they aren’t jaded or judgmental – those qualities come with age, along with self-focus, self-reliance, self-protection, self-promotion, and self-praise. On the contrary, children (most of them anyway) are willing to defer and to receive, to climb into the Savior’s lap and be cared for, to be led and loved on.

The children approached Jesus in a way we’re supposed to emulate.

“’Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.’ And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them. (Mark 10:15-16).

Jesus rebuked the disciples for putting restrictions on access to Him, and the same goes for us. Our preconceived ideas about how relationship with God works, and our lofty opinions about how it should work, restrict our ability to receive all He has for us.

Our religious merit systems restrict us – we’d rather earn our way into His lap. Our disappointments, bitterness, and defensiveness restrict us. Our shame and guilt and insecurity restrict us. Our pride in our appearance and accomplishments restricts us. Our desire to control our lives restricts us. All of it keeps us from coming unhindered to the one who counts us precious.

The children went to Jesus without anything of value to offer Him except their love and excitement to be there. He wanted to spend time with them, hug them, and heal them. He wanted to. And we are precious to Jesus too when we recognize our need for His help, when we’re willing to defer, to receive, to be led, and to be loved on. We’re precious when we come to Jesus with the simple expectation that because of who He is and how He loves, we’re welcome, wanted, forgiven, and will be restored.” 1

I would be lying if I said that I too, have not had preconceived ideas about how my relationship with God works or had lofty opinions about how it should work. I too, have been self-focused, self-reliant, self-protected, self-promoted, and self-praised. I have had all of those attitudes and behaviors – at one time or another – which have restricted me and prevented me from coming unhindered to Jesus.

I‘ve complicated what God intended to be as simple.

The simple, trusting faith of a child is what Jesus wants from us. In this aspect of our relationship with Him, we can receive all He longs to give us. He wants to spend time with us. He wants us to invite Him into every area of our lives. He wants to.

{my graphics are inspirational gifts for you}

Questions to consider:

What is getting in the way of your trusting Jesus with childlike faith?

Where have you put restrictions on your relationship with Jesus?

What might you need to release and “nail to the cross” in order to be free?

Do you see yourself as precious to God? If not, what can you do to shift your perception to one that reflects what God’s Word says about how much He loves and values you?

If this devotional blog encouraged you, would you share it with a friend?

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Editor's Note:

This blog is by Freedom to Flourish Life Coaching Founder and Christian Life Coach, Jen Stone-Sexton. She is currently accepting new clients. You can learn more about Jen here.

To learn more about overcoming barriers to receiving God's love and trusting Him, you can schedule HERE for a no-obligation Discovery Session.

Jennifer C. Stone-Sexton © 2023 Freedom to Flourish, LLC

All graphics created by Jennifer C. Stone-Sexton © 2023 Freedom to Flourish, LLC

All Rights Reserved.



Cover Photo by Caleb Frith on Unsplash (Woman on Rock looking out at vista)

1 The CHOSEN, Book One – 40 Days with Jesus by Amanda Jenkins, Kristen Hendricks, and Dallas Jenkins, Copyright © 2019 The Chosen Productions, LLC; BroadStreet Publishing® Group, LLC, Savage, Minnesota, USA. (Day 34, pages 146-149.) Used by permission. All rights reserved. The Message (MSG), Copyright © 1993, 2002, 2018 by Eugene H. Peterson. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. New International Version (NIV), Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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