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What is FAITH?

Faith is believing things you cannot see. Little Jane and her daddy were taking a walk down a forest trail. Ahead of them Jane saw a giant tree leaning over the path. She clung to her daddy’s hand. “Oh, Daddy,” she cried, “will it fall on us?” “No,” he replied. “It looks like it is about to fall over, but under the ground there are many strong roots. They are holding the tree up.” Jane laughed. “Funny tree!” she said and ran up to pat the thick bark. She couldn’t see the roots under the ground, but she believed what her daddy said. Because she had faith that the tree roots were there, she was not afraid.

Some children stop believing what they are told because they find out it isn’t true. One mother told her son, “Don’t go down to the lake or the bears will get you.” At first Jake believed his mother, but then one day he met a hunter coming up the trail from the lake. “Did you shoot a bear?” Jake asked. The man laughed and held up two pheasants. “There are no bears around here,” he said. “But my mother said they would get me if I went down to the lake,” Jake replied. The hunter shook his head. “The biggest critter by this lake is a raccoon.” The next day Jake’s mother told him not play with the lawn mower because he could cut himself. “I don’t know if I can believe you, Mother,” Jake said. Can you trust your parents to tell you the truth?

There are many things we can’t see or understand, so we must trust others. “When will Daddy get home?” “Why can’t I touch the fire?” “What happens when someone dies?” you might ask. Usually you learn to believe what older people tell you. But as you get bigger, you start thinking that you know the answers yourself. Four-year-old Maggie wanted a banana. She went into the kitchen and opened the knife drawer. Mom said that she shouldn’t touch knives because she could get hurt. Maggie grabbed a knife anyway. “I won’t get hurt,” Maggie thought, and began to cut the banana. Who was Maggie having faith in—Mom or herself? Poor little Maggie! She didn’t know how close she came to cutting her own fingers! It was a good thing that Mom came into the kitchen just then and took the knife away. Maggie had to learn to obey Mom and not try to do things her own way.

Faith is important to keep us safe. Many children, like Maggie, think that their own ideas are best. But when they stop trusting their parents, it gets them into a lot of trouble. Jane had learned to trust her daddy and felt safe. She didn’t need to see the tree roots to believe him. But if someone tells you untruths, like Jake’s mother did, you can’t really trust them. Some people think that God can’t be trusted either. They don’t want to do right, and so they believe that He is not real or that He doesn’t notice. “I can have fun and live my own life and nothing bad will happen,” they say. Like little Maggie, they can’t see how dangerous their own ways are. Foolish people! They don’t know that God is a loving Father who always tells the truth. When He says that living our own way will get us into trouble, we should believe Him and obey Him. When we are scared, like Jane, we can trust our heavenly Father to take care of us. God wants us to have faith in Him so we can be safe.