In this faded memory the lesson progressed to a point where Dad would drop my favorite toy car into the shallow end and I would hold my breath and jump in after it. Although I could not swim, my father had taught me that as long as I held my breath I would float back to the top where he could pick me up. We repeated this game many times (as is often the case with children and new experiences). While I don’t remember everything about that experience, the absolute trust and confidence I felt for my father are forever etched into my brain. I remember just knowing, never fearing, that every time I jumped into that water he would be there to lift me up.
My parents recall this trip with in a slightly different way. They think of it as, “the time we all went to Florida and Josh jumped into the deep end of the pool when no one was looking and scared us all to death.” As an adult I understand this reaction and why everyone responded the way they did. However, I distinctly remember the “childhood me” as being very confused. To him, he was still playing the game with his father! He had no reservations about leaving the shallow end; he didn’t even hesitate to jump because he had complete confidence in his father to lift him up again.
Jesus challenged His disciples to develop the attributes of a child (Matthew 18:3). I have often wondered which attributes childlike traits He desires us to emulate? Is it how a child loves unconditionally? How a child can forgive so easily? How accepting they can since they are unburdened by pride and prejudice? It is likely all of these and more. As when I recall my earliest memory I believe Jesus wants me to regain that childlike quality of faith and trust.
I am certain the “younger me” could teach the “older me” quite a bit about faith. To him, passages like Matthew 6:25-33 would have made perfect sense. Don’t worry. Don’t fear. Don’t stress. Just “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you” (v. 33). Simply place your trust the heavenly Father and He will take care of you. “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up” (James 4:10)