We’ve all heard the expression “faith like a child” and the Jesus’ sayings about children, like “the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these” (Lk 18:15-16) and many others. There are many reasons for this; children are humble as we are to be humble, children are dependant on parents and we are dependant on God, children easily trust their parents and we are to put faith in God and so on. However, one trait of children, especially infants and toddlers gets overlooked: tenacity.
My youngest daughter is nine months old and she’s crawling everywhere. She loves to move and the last thing she wants is to be held down. One challenge for her (and me) is that you can’t really change a diaper on a moving baby (well… it’s not a good idea anyway) so every diaper change has become a real struggle. She constantly tries to sit up, roll over, and crawl away and I constantly flip her over, give her a toy to distract her, and otherwise forcibly manipulate her into holding still long enough to get a new diaper on her. In the midst of the struggle I often wonder (in exasperation) why won’t she just give up and hold still for 10 seconds!
She won’t hold still because she doesn’t want to and she has tenacity. That’s why.
She has no hope of overcoming me through force; I’m obviously bigger and stronger. She has no hope of outmaneuvering me, she’s not that coordinated yet. She has no realistic hope of being able to crawl away unless I let her but she simply will not give up; each time she no doubt hopes that this time she won’t get rolled back over.
What would I be like if I treated my faith that way? What if every time the flesh, the world, and the devil knocked me down I unwaveringly got back up and struggled on? What if I had faith that eventually my tenacity would triumph over the current challenge? What if I relentlessly pursued what I knew I wanted (a deeper relationship with God) even when it’s difficult; even impossible at the moment?
Unfortunately, I don’t know what I’d be like if I did those things because I simply don’t. I’ve become too accustomed to the famed Path of Least Resistance so I pursue the “easy” thing instead of the “right” thing. I’ve learned struggle isn’t fun so at the first sign of resistance I know it’s easier to simply try something else. From exercise to prayer I find I do those things that are easy and convenient instead of doing the things I know are right because the right things are rarely easy or convenient.
God, help me to be more tenacious; just like my nine-month-old!