Faith and Forgiveness of a Child
By Jacqi Ballough
“Lord, please take him. End his suffering.” I prayed and cried at the same time. We had watched our exuberant son bring this amazing little chameleon home only a year ago.
During that time, he gently cared for the needs of the little creature daily even saving his money to pay for its weekly cricket consumption.
Our family marveled at his growth from beginning as the size of our pinky finger to becoming the length of our hand and quite colorful. We could see God’s astonishing creativity in him.
I stood staring at the cage feeling helpless as this little animal shuttered in pain. “A wise man cares for his animals” (Proverbs 12:10), yet I didn’t know what to do.
My son then entered the room and witnessed the horrid condition. He began crying and praying,
“Lord, you can bring dead things to life. Bring him to life.”
Here I was moments before yielding to common sense and thinking there is no hope, and my faith-filled child walked in and declared for dead things to come to life. I felt as if I was a disciple being rebuked by Jesus and in awe of the heart of our child.
Unfortunately, our chameleon passed on and then my son hit me with the questions, “Was it my fault? Did he die from my neglect?”
“No. Not at all. You loved and cared for him diligently while he was here. God decided his time.”
Searching for reasons of the sudden death myself, I remembered my son had mentioned a few weeks before that he had read pine was poisonous to reptiles and could hurt his beloved pet.
My husband had just placed pine chips in the cricket tank thinking it would help with the smell and sanitation. He told our son it would be fine, and he would look it up later. He never did.
Trying to find an answer to the calamity, I Googled it, and sure enough, our son was right. I theorized that the crickets had consumed some of the pine and then been eaten by the chameleon.
Whether or not that was the cause, we will never know, but the point was we dismissed our son to the detriment of life created by God and the trust between son and father.
After notifying my husband of the death, he quickly asked our son for forgiveness and sought reconciliation. Even in the moments of grief our son was quick to forgive, again witnessing to us (the parents) the admirable faith of a child.
Here was our son now physically burying his pet, shovel in hand and grieving, but still maintaining his faith stating, “What if he comes back to life now under the rock?”
Thankfully, my child-like faith was finally kicking in, so I replied, “Then God has the ability to move the rock or give him the strength to climb out.”
“I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like children, you will never get into the kingdom of heaven. So, anyone who becomes as humble as this child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.” Matthew 18:3-4
Child-like faith isn’t something to be pushed aside because now we are ‘adults’, whether physically or spiritually, rather it is the ‘mainstay’ of our walk and growth in the Lord. It is the key ingredient, so as the scripture says ‘stay as humble as this child’.