Column: Children teach valuable lessons about trust

I have just spent a week with my grandchildren. Being with them and watching the intricate exchanges between brothers and sisters has been a privilege. They range in age from 11 years to 18 months. What comes to my mind is the scripture of St. Matthew 18:2-5, which says, “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”

I was pondering this scripture reading as I was watching the children. I have always wondered why children are made heralds of an entryway into heaven.

As the days passed, I saw that children, especially the younger ones, trusted the adults around them. This was not assured in every instance, but they trusted the adults in critical situations. They trust their parents and their grandparents. I recall when my children were small during lightning storms. The heavens rumbled, and lightning flashed; little people would come running into our bedroom, seeking the comfort of their mother and father. We would all be huddled in bed till the passage of the brutal storm. They knew their parents would care for them and protect them.

Other times, we would be crossing a busy intersection. I would take the child’s hand, and they would trust me to safely bring them across the street. It began to dawn on me that what scripture refers to is trust.

Trust is a strange ideal; it depends on at least two people to allow trust to exist. It is a giving of ourselves over to another person, institution or concept. We trust our safety to the police; and our car to bring us back and forth. Strangely enough, our entire economic health is a matter of trust. When we go to a restaurant, we trust the food to be clean and edible. Trust is one of the things missing in our world. Current society does not trust God. Humans have bypassed the Creator. They want firm and instantaneous answers of now. How many children do I want, or I don’t want any children at all. Why must I suffer if I am dying? What sex will my child be? I want a perfect child, not one with problems and so on.

These are questions that ask “trust” to stand aside. As modern people, we want to control our future and our lives. God is not consulted or even thought of. We are the drivers of our world. This is fine if all works smoothly.

When there are problems as there are in real life, we often despair or seek solace in drugs and alcohol or become depressed and anxious. We can endure if we trust in God and allow his grace into our lives. We can live our lives with less anxiety and more clarity. To live like this, however, you must have the humility of trusting God. We must put our hand in his and walk across the street with him, knowing he will get us to the other side. Like a child, we must trust. We cannot control all that our life will bring us.

Scripture tells us we will not enter heaven unless we trust God as his child. We are children of God, and he is our father. This is a difficult teaching in our current age. We want to be in control. We are told we do not need God to live our lives. However, when there is a tragedy of any sort, you will hear people say, “Oh my God.” A natural reaction to a problematic and immediate need of help.

The modern world has allowed the spiritual nature of man to become of minor importance. Yet this abstract and transcendent part of our humanity has the most powerful influence on our being. These abstract values do not conform to scientific examination. Trust in God is suspect in our world because it has no provable facts. Yet, it is this kind of abstract values that are the very driver of our being. It gives us the will to get through things that often are only surmountable by sheer willpower. That energy to get through situations that threaten us comes from the spirit. Our spirit is from God. We are Children of God. Trust him; he is watching over you with love.


Kathleen Carlton Johnson, Ph.D., is a hospice chaplain.


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper? *

Starting at $2.99/week.

Subscribe Today