The Overflow

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I Want to Go Back: Reclaiming Childlike Faith

Faith, LifestyleMakayla StewartComment
 Photo Credit: Karen Whisler

Photo Credit: Karen Whisler

"At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, ‘Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?’ Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.” – Matthew 18:1-3

I really like the new song by David Dunn: “I Want to Go Back.” It captures the childlike part of my heart that longs to be carefree. Dunn’s song recollects that, as kids, life and faith was simple; God could do anything and, because of Him, so could we. But as we grow up life and faith seem to get complicated. “I Want to Go Back" expresses a desire to go back to that child mentality that knows faith really is simple.  Much like his song, when I was a kid God really could do anything. No matter what mess I brought to Him, He could fix it. God was my daddy to be trusted fearlessly, and faith in Him could really change things.

“And then I grew up
And then I got older
Then my life got tough
And we grew apart.”  – David Dunn, “I Want to Go Back”

 Photo Credit: Karen Whisler

Photo Credit: Karen Whisler

Isn’t that so! We grow up, and as life gets harder we think we have to shoulder the weight of it all by ourselves. God tells us, Do not worry, I will take care of you (see Matthew 6:25-34). But as a result of growing up in this world, we do worry about seemingly everything. If we are not worried about something then there is something wrong with us, and we are deemed irresponsible and perhaps careless. If we are not running around in absurd busyness we are “unproductive,” and if we happen to stop long enough to enjoy the little things we are impractical. This is what the world expects of its grown-ups; this is the life we get too easily wound up in. That’s why I want to go back.

“I wanna go back
To Jesus loves me this I know
For the Bible tells me
For the Bible tells me so.” – David Dunn, “I Want to Go Back”

I want to go back to God as my daddy who I can trust, so that when He says, “Jump,” I know He will catch me, and I can just enjoy the ride. I want to go back to bringing my cares, worries, and messes and laying them at His feet, knowing He will help me fix them and has a plan through all of it. I want to go back to the simple and profound truth that Jesus loves me. That fact alone changes everything: the way I live, how I stand, what I seek. If we take God at His word and really believe Him, if we have the smallest measure of faith, if we really think of God as more than a God worthy of all respect but also as our daddy who loves and cares for us, how different would our lives be? I think we would find that in life we can be carefree and that faith really can move a mountain.

Perhaps for a moment we think about living life like this. We feel that sense of awe and wonderment seen in the eyes of a child. We believe and feel that crazy overwhelming love God has for us. But then we fear what other people think and if we can really live that relaxed. And if you’re like me, you long to just be a kid again, free of the stress and worries of life. As much as we want to be faithful in the things God has given us, it feels like there is no break from adulthood and responsibilities. But maybe having a child’s heart is not a break from an adult’s world. Maybe life is a balance of both.

 Photo Credit: Karen Whisler

Photo Credit: Karen Whisler

The neat thing about being God’s child is that no matter how old we get we are still God’s precious little children. And, as His growing children, we are given the opportunity to have both the carefreeness of childhood and the challenges of adult responsibility. God wants us to trust Him as our daddy. In that trust, He wants us to enjoy the little things of life and be carefree knowing He’s got the whole world in His hands. “The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by Him we cry, ‘Abba, Father’” (Romans 8:15). At the same time, God wants us to be stewards over the responsibilities He has entrusted to us: the kids, the house, our jobs, and money. God has a plan for us to have both the carefree heart of a child and the responsibility of an adult.

C. S. Lewis explains this concept well: “[A]s St. Paul points out, Christ never meant that we were to remain children in intelligence: on the contrary, He told us to be not only ‘as harmless as doves,’ but also ‘as wise as serpents.’ He wants a child's heart, but a grown-up's head. He wants us to be simple, single-minded, affectionate, and teachable, as good children are; but He also wants every bit of intelligence we have to be alert at its job, and in first-class fighting trim. The fact that you are giving money to a charity does not mean that you need not try to find out whether that charity is a fraud or not. The fact that what you are thinking about is God Himself (for example, when you are praying) does not mean that you can be content with the same babyish ideas which you had when you were a five-year-old. It is, of course, quite true that God will not love you any the less, or have less use for you, if you happen to have been born with a very second-rate brain. He has room for people with very little sense, but He wants everyone to use what sense they have. The proper motto is not ‘Be good, sweet maid, and let who can be clever,’ but ‘Be good, sweet maid, and don't forget that this involves being as clever as you can’" [1- emphasis mine].

Embodying a child’s heart allows us to enjoy life, live simply, and be carefree. Operating with a grown-up’s head provides us with the opportunity to think deeply, act justly, and handle with clarity and responsibility the things that have been entrusted to us. Living with both a child’s heart and a grown-up’s head allows us to let the light of Christ shine brightly.

“I wanna go back
To this little light
Gonna let it shine
Gonna let it shine.” – David Dunn, “I Want to Go Back”
 Photo Credit: Karen Whisler

Photo Credit: Karen Whisler

Letting our light, the light of Christ, shine is not as complicated as we have made it. Living lighthearted as a child naturally displays a sense of peace, joy, and trust in our Creator, something the world has no way of manufacturing apart from Christ. Living with maturity and respect gives us a reputation of blamelessness that shows we are trustworthy and faithful. Believing that Jesus loves me lets me take this little light – His love – and let it shine to all who see me. Not seeking to build myself up but rather reflect the light of Christ is living like Jesus really loves me. In the love of Christ I am free and strong. I am all I ever need to be. I am His.

“Jesus loves me” is the greatest fact you could ever know, and it will change you. Karl Barth (1886-1968), a courageous theologian, provides a powerful illustration of the magnitude of this fact. According to Christianity Today, when Barth was asked “how he would summarize the essence of the millions of words he had published, he replied, ‘Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so.’" [2] The truth that Jesus loves me changes everything. “Jesus loves me” makes fearful people fearless, weak people strong, and captive people free. Has the reality that Jesus loves you changed you? Have you even thought about it recently? Despite your answer, let’s go back.

“May [you] have the power, together with all the Lord’s people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” – Ephesians 3:18-19


[1] Mere Christianity, Book 3, Chapter 2