In grade school, I was a part of a school program in which I had the opportunity to have extended study. Each week, I (along with about ten others) would get pulled from class, and we'd focus on a singular topic for a whole semester. The great hurricane that hit Galveston in 1900, the Titanic, Native American History, Mars Rovers, and the Iditarod were all topics that still fascinate me to this day. We went to museums, watched IMAX documentaries, made models, and slept in observatories. Being a part of that program always cultivated wonder.
I've always loved space, and there was a semester that we spent time making models of Mars Rovers. We went to NASA. We watched the night sky. When I crossed over from grade school and into middle school, I still loved the stars. I became a part of an afterschool program called Science Olympiads, and I learned about chemical reactions and made a trombone from PVC pipe, but my favorite thing I got to do was memorize constellations. I went on to place at a state competition because I was obsessed with the stars. I knew the trivia, mythology, and shapes. I loved every second of it.
Unfortunately, I can only remember a fraction of what I once knew. I still find myself star gazing, now with less purpose and a little less wonder. Last night I laid in bed, trying to fall asleep, and couldn't help but think about the wonder that I've lost. I can't help but consider what a lack of curiosity has had on my faith.
"When Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, "Let the little children come to me. Don't stop them, because the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it." Mark 10:14-15
As a child, I spent hours hunting for bugs, worms, and salamanders in our back yard. Today, I spent hours worrying about what-ifs, being angry about this-or-that's, and craving nows in the not-yets. How would my faith be impacted if I instead spent my time running rambunctiously through the corridors of my faith, peeking in the keyholes of my Bible, doing cannonballs in the joy of the Lord? If wonder reignited within me, how would I receive God's Word at the Spirit's leading?
I'm not pretending to have answers or a formula for how our faith ought to be lived, but when Christ speaks about children, he points us toward their small faithfilledness, their simple understanding, and their wandering curiosity. If the kingdom of God belongs to the childlike, why wouldn't we look to the children, look to their wonder, their questions, their simplicity?
Should my faith feel trampled or my thoughts feel muddied, my first line of defense may not need to be calling out to my friends, but maybe calling to my Father. When I feel weak and incapable, perhaps the answer isn't in my strength but God's eternally capable help. If I am in rebellion, maybe I shouldn't try to fix it all on my own, instead receiving the excellent discipline of the Lord. Maybe, I should act a little more childlike in my everyday crises.
I feel trapped and stuck often. Like walking through the sand with lead shoes, I can't gain good enough traction, I can't develop enough strength in my power, and I can't find encouragement from within to keep going. I've lost the childlike wonder that looks at Scripture doubtlessly and without question. I've lost the simple faith that knows my Heavenly Father isn't out to give me stones and snakes when I ask for providence. I've lost the desire to look up at the stars and remember the creativity of God. I've lost the drive to learn more and more and more until my pea-sized brain runs out of storage.
I mourn and grieve the lost curiosity, but I hope to do better and more. Maybe I'll learn the stars and seasons, go to more museums, read sillier stories, or look for lizards in the backyard. But more than that, I hope to receive the Kingdom of God as a child. I hope to explore my faith (or sometimes lack thereof). I aspire to look deeply in the pages of Scripture, listen heartily to the Spirit, and grow in the affection of the Father as a truly, loving father.