Heaven is for Real: A Little Boy’s Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back is written by Pastor Todd Burpo. In a super quick synopsis, his 3 1/2 year old son, near death, goes into surgery. As time goes by his son Colton begins to reveal to his parents that when in surgery he was in Heaven. Throughout the next couple years that follow Colton fills his parents in on details that are more accurate than any preschooler would know.
Did he really go to Heaven? Was it a vision? Was it a dream? Do we have a word for what it was? I don’t have the answer to that, but whether or not he was truly in Heaven, Colten has a way of looking and talking about our Lord in such a simplistic way that it is absolutely beautiful.
“Well Jesus told me he died on the cross so we could go see his Dad.”
In my mind’s eye, I saw Jesus, with Colton on his lap, brushing past all the seminary degrees, knocking down theological treatises stacked high as skyscrapers, and boiling down fancy words like propitiation and soteriology to something a child could understand: “I had to die on the cross so that people on earth could come see my Dad.”
Colton’s answer to my question was the simplest and sweetest declaration of the gospel I had ever heard. I thought again about the difference between grown-up and childlike faith.¹
I too began to think about the difference between grown-up and childlike faith. To have childlike faith is to fully except something without question, or even need for doubt. Childlike faith is not needing to worry about if or when God will provide, because there is no doubt that He will.
Grown-up faith is one that requires work. Grown-up faith asks God to prove Himself. This may not always be a direct question or demand from us, but we ask God to prove Himself in times of anxiousness. When trials have occurred I’ve looked up and said, “Ok, now’s the time I need you. When are You going to fix this?” Childlike faith is knowing that God is already in it, He hasn’t left you, He doesn’t need to prove Himself by doing a “quick fix”. Really, with a childlike faith we will have no need for anxiety or worry because our complete trust and faith will be in the Father who, to put it in 3 year old terms, loves us so so so much.
I pray that I can continue to keep it simple and focus on the basic truths of God’s love for me. We may not ever be able to fully grasp how much God loves us, but I think the closer we get to understanding, the more childlike our faith becomes. I am God’s daughter and He gave of Himself so that His little girl could be with Him. Awesome.
¹Burpo, Todd, et al. Heaven is for Real: A Little Boy’s Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back. 2010, Thomas Nelson. p.111.