Daily Devotion for February 1, 2021

Jesus called a little child to him and placed the child among them. And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 18:2-4

Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid; For the Lord God is my strength and song, And He has become my salvation.  Isaiah 12:2

When I was a small child, maybe three or four years old our family was visiting “Aunt Tippy” at her farm where my Dad lived and worked for room and board during his college days. I always felt so safe and warm there as I enjoyed carefree play with the kittens and relished the abundance of good food. As we prepared to leave the farm I went to the car while my parents had their traditional long goodbye conversation with Aunt Tippy. While waiting, I started pretending that I was driving the car and perhaps dreaming of driving in the Indy 500 race. (Yes, I grew up a Hoosier). Somehow, I managed to put the car in neutral and disengage the emergency brake. The car began to roll down the hill toward a cliff with a few hundred feet drop just a couple yards away! Of course, I was having fun, not aware of the impending danger that could have taken my life and destroyed the car. Suddenly, out of the corner of my eye, I glimpsed my father sprinting toward the car! In one fluid motion, Dad flung open the passenger door, lunged into the car and his left foot slammed down on the brake stopping the car just inches from the cliff. Not knowing the danger, of course, I laughed and thought it was all great fun. With the faith of a child, I trusted my parents and lived life that day unafraid.

The scripture passages above affirm the value of childlike faith and trust. Other passages encourage us not to worry and to “cast all your cares and anxieties upon God because God cares for you” (I Peter 5:7). The invitation to trust does not mean that we ignore the harsh realities of life around us. Rather, trust allows us to embrace life fully and not be captivated and bound by fear. Human history demonstrates that life is hard, harsh, unjust and that people and institutions are not perfect and let us down. Still, the people of God are invited to trust the One whom we do not see; the One who holds everything together.

My cousin Sandy died of leukemia when she was 14 years old, the same age as me at that time. Sandy was always so full of life and joy and we shared some marvelous times together. Even battling disease, Sandy was full of hope. Shortly before death she said, “Mom, don’t cry. I’m not afraid, Jesus is with me. Don’t you see him?” A childlike trust may seem, well, childish! Yet, I will take faith over fear any day. May Yahweh be my strength and song. I will trust and not be afraid!
Ever loving God, In this age of daily bad news, help us to celebrate and trust your good news made visible through Christ Jesus. Thank you for your promise never to leave us or forsake us. Help us to trust in you, that we might serve your world with joy. Amen.