Matthew 18:3 - The Faith of a Child!
Mat 18:3 (KJV) And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be
converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the
kingdom of heaven.
My son Gilbert was eight years old and had been in Cub Scouts
only a short time. During one of his meetings he was handed a sheet
of paper, a block of wood and four tires and told to return home
and give all to "dad". That was not an easy task for Gilbert to do.
Dad was not receptive to doing things with his son. But Gilbert
tried. Dad read the paper and scoffed at the idea of making a pine wood
derby car with his young, eager son. The block of wood remained
untouched as the weeks passed.
Finally, mom stepped in to see if I could figure this all out.
The project began. Having no carpentry skills, I decided it would be
best if I simply read the directions and let Gilbert do the work. And
he did. I read aloud the measurements, the rules of what we could
do and what we couldn't do. Within days, his block of wood was
turning into a pinewood derby car. A little lopsided, but looking great
(at least through the eyes of mom). Gilbert had not seen any of the
other kids' cars and was feeling pretty proud of his "Blue Lightning",
the pride that comes with knowing you did something on your own.
Then the big night came. With his blue pinewood derby in his hand and
pride in his heart, we headed to the big race. Once there, my little
one's pride turned to humility. Gilbert's car was obviously the only
car made entirely on his own. All the other cars were a father-son
partnership, with cool paint jobs and sleek body styles made for speed. A few
of the boys giggled as they looked at Gilbert's lopsided, wobbly,
unattractive vehicle. To add to the humility, Gilbert was the only boy
without a man at his side. A couple of the boys who were from single
parent homes at least had an uncle or grandfather by their side,
Gilbert had "mom".
As the race began, it was done in elimination fashion. You kept
racing as long as you were the winner. One by one the cars raced down
the ramp. Finally it was between Gilbert and the sleekest, fastest
looking car there. As the last race was about to begin, my wide-eyed,
shy eight-year-old asked if they could stop the race for a minute,
because he wanted to pray. The race stopped. Gilbert hit his knees
clutching his funny looking block of wood between his hands. With a
wrinkled brow, he set to converse with his father. He prayed in earnest
for a very long minute and a half. Then he stood, smile on his face
and announced, "Okay, I am ready." As the crowd cheered, a boy named
Tommy stood with his father as their car sped down the ramp. Gilbert
stood with his Father within his heart and watched his block of wood
wobble down the ramp with surprisingly great speed and rushed over the
finish line a fraction of a second before Tommy's car.
Gilbert leaped into the air with a loud "Thank you" as the crowd
roared in approval. The Scout Master came up to Gilbert with microphone
in hand and asked the obvious question, "So you prayed to win, huh,
Gilbert?" To which my young son answered, "Oh, no, sir. That wouldn't be
fair to ask God to help you beat someone else. I just asked Him to
make it so I don't cry when I lose." Children seem to have a wisdom
far beyond us. Gilbert didn't ask God to win the race, he didn't ask
God to fix the outcome, Gilbert asked God to give him strength in
the outcome. When Gilbert first saw the other cars, he didn't cry
out to God, "No fair, they had a father's help" No, he went to his
Father for strength. Perhaps we spend too much of our prayer time
asking God to rig the race, to make us number one, or too much time
asking God to remove us from the struggle, when we should be seeking
God's strength to get through the struggle.
"I can do everything through Him who gives me strength."
(Philippians 4:13). Gilbert's simple prayer spoke volumes to those present
that night. He never doubted that God would indeed answer his
request. He didn't pray to win, thus hurt someone else, he prayed that
God supply the grace to lose with dignity. Gilbert, by his stopping
the race to speak to his Father also showed the crowd that he wasn't
there without a "dad", but His Father was most definitely there with
him. Yes, Gilbert walked away a winner that night, with his Father at
his side. [source unknown]
If Our Prayers Do Not Change Us, Then We Do Not Pray Aright.