Faith of a Child / Childlike Faith

[The following is the talk I gave in church yesterday]

As far as
the gospel is concerned, faith is a very broad subject. There have been many
talks given on the subject of faith. Faith has always been one of my favorite
and most intriguing topics because, without faith, we can do nothing [D&C 8:10],
and without faith we cannot please God [Heb 11:6], and without faith there
cannot be any hope [Moroni 7:42].

According to the prophet Joseph Smith, “Faith is … the
moving cause of all action in … intelligent beings.” In other words, we would
not do anything in life if we did not have faith that it would lead to some sort
of desired outcome. Think about it. Would you drive through green light if you
did not have faith that the lights for cars moving in the opposite direction
were red, and that cars moving in that direction would stop for the red light?
On a more spiritual level, would you read your scriptures if you did not have
faith that doing so would lead you to greater spiritually? Would you pray if you
did not believe there was a God, and that He was listening? That may be a loaded
question, because there may be many instances in which we pray without faith.

In order to rein in this grand topic, I would like to
discuss the faith of children, because ultimately, I believe that is where our
faith begins, and ironically, as we grow in years, it is that same type of faith
we work to obtain.

A poem by David Velazquez entitled “Faith of a Child” goes
as follows:

The father, a well digger,
strong was he,

And as loving and kind as a
father could be.

And Mary his daughter, five
years old,

Was very much dearer than
millions of gold.

To Mary her father was big,
grand and nice,

So each had a treasure, beyond
any price.

One day to the well, little
Mary was sent

To take daddy’s lunch, how
gladly she went.

But when she looked down, not a
thing could be seen.

The well, like a pocket, was
dark as could be.

The father saw Mary and heard
her voice, too,

But made not a sound, just to
see what she’d do.

She dropped to her knees, the
dear little soul,

And called down, "Oh, Daddy,
are you down this hole?"

"Why yes Mary darling, I’m here
at your feet,

Just drop my lunch for I’m
ready to eat.

Just let it go easy, I’ll catch
it all right."

She did and she saw it fall out
of sight.

"Why Mary," said father,
"There’s enough here for two,

Now this is the thing I would
like you to do.

You jump down here to me and
we’ll eat it together,

Down here in the cool and away
from the weather."

"Oh, daddy, I’m afraid, I can’t
see you at all,

Be sure now you catch me and
don’t let me fall."

‘Twas just for a moment she
wavered in doubt,

Then closing her dear little
eyes she jumped out.

In the darkness, yes, that was
the test,

She trusted in faith in her
father’s request.

And both were so happy he
kissed her and smiled

Because of the sweet trusting
faith of his child.

"Oh, sweet little Mary, you put
me to shame,

How often my Father has called
me the same.

But because it was dark I
turned back in doubt.

Refusing the call, though his
arms were stretched out."

Yesterday afternoon, while preparing this talk, I called my
father who lives in Roosevelt. I asked him if there were times in my life
growing up when I displayed these virtues of childlike faith.

The first thing that immediately came to his mind, and
which he and my mom often comment about, is when my mom was pregnant with her
third child. I was four years old. As soon as she told my brother and I the
news, I prayed that it would be a girl. In fact, I remember this being a routine
in my nightly prayers. I told everyone my mom was having a girl. My mom was
concerned that if by chance she had a boy it would destroy my faith. She used to
ask me, “What if I have another boy?” I would simply reply. “It’s a girl mom.”
Well, of course she had a girl.

Another story my dad told me, that I don’t quite remember
as much, was during a baseball All-Star tournament when I was 11 years old. We
were driving to Vernal to play their all-star team. I remember being excited
because they had an actual little league field with smaller fences, whereas the
fields we played on in Roosevelt were all large men’s softball fields. I told my
dad that I was going to hit a home-run that day. He smiled and said, “You are
huh?” My replay was, “Yep, I prayed about it.”

I did hit a home-run in that game and it was a very joyful
experience. But now I look back and think, “Why would God care about my
concern to hit a homerun?”

First of all, I really don’t know. But a few possible
answers came to mind while pondering this question. First, the simple act of
praying in faith led to a blessing in which God, in his love, helped me achieve
my desire. I also remember at times when I couldn’t sleep, my parents would tell
me to think of a happy thought. Remembering this even often helped calm my fears
and worries and put me to sleep.

Even up into high school I would pray for help in my
baseball, basketball, and football games. I remember my senior year going out
into a field behind our house and praying to God for many things. But I remember
specifically asking, that if He be willing, that he would allow our team to take
state. Certainly our team was good enough to do so. We had a great season and we
had the top seat going into the tournament. Yet it turned out that I broke my
arm while pitching in a semi final game against, ironically enough, Vernal. This
is really a whole new story altogether, but we ended up taking second place. I
was completely fine with that because I knew that God had heard my prayers and
answered them in His own way, according to His will, and not mine. Events that
occurred during that time were some of the greatest spiritual experiences that
increased my faith and testimony and helped prepare me to leave home, serve a
mission, and trust in the Lord as I left my family and friends.

It is often the little things, that when done regularly and
faithfully can have the greatest impact on our lives and bring about miracles.
Picture the young boy Joseph who just wanted to do what was right and go to
church. Yet he wanted it to be the right church –the church which God most
wanted him to go to. He soon learned that he could not rely on the words of
others to determine which church God wanted him to go to. He read the Bible in
hopes of finding an answer, and also learned that he could not get the
information he needed from the Bible alone because “the teachers of religion of
the different sects understood the same passages of scripture so differently as
to destroy all confidence in settling the question by an appeal to the Bible.”
[JSH 1:12] But it was through his faith and diligence that he continued to study
the Bible in which he learned how to find the answer he was seeking. He “was one
day reading the Epistle of James, first chapter and fifth verse, which reads:
If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally,
and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.”
[JSH 1:11]

Joseph recounted:

“Never did any passage of scripture come with more power to
the heart of man than this did at this time to mine. It seemed to enter with
great force into every feeling of my heart. I reflected on it again and again…”
[JSH 1:12]”

Notice he did not read this scripture and immediately go
pray. He “reflected on it again and again.” In other words, he pondered. He grew
in faith. I believe that on that early spring morning in 1820, as Joseph went in
to the woods, he knew in perfect faith that he would receive the answer he was
looking for. I don’t think he thought God the Father and Jesus Christ would
actually appear to him, but he knew that by going into the woods and asking God
“in faith, nothing wavering,” [James 1:6] that we would then know for himself
which church he should join.

Well, from his childlike faith came the greatest miracle
and blessing in these last days. The heavens were opened. God the Eternal Father
and His Only Begotten Son Jesus Christ, came down and talked with the boy
Joseph. The great work of the restoration of the truth began. Joseph Smith left
the grove that morning with knowledge that God and Jesus Christ live. Like the
Brother of Jared, “he had faith no longer, for he knew, nothing doubting.”

I know that this event is real. I know Joseph Smith was and
is a true prophet of God. He is a martyr for the truth. I am grateful for his
life and work. I know that God lives. I know he loves us. I know he hears and
answers my prayers, when I pray in faith. I know His Son, Jesus Christ lives. He
walked upon this earth. He experienced all that He could possibly can experience
here upon the earth so that he may know how to succor us, His people. I know he
bled and died for our sins, for my sins, if we repent, if I repent. I know that
by faith all things are accomplished. I say these things in the name of Jesus
Christ. Amen.

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2 thoughts on “Faith of a Child / Childlike Faith”

  1. Thanks, I have been hunting for the “Faith of a Child” Poem.
    Sincerely, Don W. Pectol

  2. Thanks so much! I was looking for the poem for my own talk on faith, and the rest of your talk really helped guide my research for writing it!

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