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    children in a blooming meadow

    Children and Faith

    How do we develop the faith that will help guide our children through life?

    By Christoph Friedrich Blumhardt

    August 31, 2023

    This article is an excerpt from Thoughts on Children.

    When a little child comes into the world and is allowed to grow for a time, it is as though we are surrounded by the pure air of heaven; we feel that something is really born of God. I feel it is a witness to our Father in heaven that our children, even those born of quite sinful parents, look at us so gaily, in such a pure and happy way; when their eyes meet ours, we feel as if an angel from heaven were looking at us – oh, so pure, so holy, and so joyful, even in the poorest circumstances, even where all kinds of evil rule. When such a little child looks at us, it is like a light in darkness.

    But there is also a struggle going on in such a child, and it moves us when we see him suffering and looking at us pleadingly with innocent eyes as if to say, “Can’t you help me?” many a mother’s heart has nearly been broken to see the pleading eyes of her little child and not be able to help him. This happens right in front of our eyes. There is a fight against the evil of the world, and nowhere is this fight seen more clearly than in children.

    Children Belong to Jesus

    The Savior loves to have children brought to Him. Even though he sees in them disease and the roots of various evils, still, if they were taken into heaven just as they are, they would not give the angels much trouble and would soon be fit for heaven and an encouraging sight for the Savior.

    What then should we wish for our children? What should we wish for them and do for them as we see them grow up, whether ailing or healthy, when we have to introduce them to the difficulties of life, when we have to accustom them early to hard work? How can we help them when we have to see them going into the harsh, coarse, rude atmosphere that meets them on the streets and everywhere? My dear friends, if we want to be of any help, we must become children ourselves and meet our children as children, and remember that these little ones belong to Jesus.

    children in a blooming meadow

    Ettore Tito, Meadow in Bloom (Children on the Asiago Plateau), 1901

    A Child’s Faith in the Kingdom

    We can sense the kingdom of heaven, a childlike heart can feel it, for it is all around us. In every sunbeam that shines on us, in every little wild flower, in everything that lives and moves on earth, there is something of the kingdom of God. There is something of beauty that can touch our hearts and teach us in a way that we can hardly learn from men’s words. There is something real of the kingdom of heaven already on our earth, and our task is to learn to see this. And the children, though they often do not know where their happiness comes from again and again – their new courage, new confidence, and new joy – they can always think, “This comes to me from the kingdom of heaven.” The kingdom of heaven is all around us. And each time we have to look into it, we should bring with us the kingdom of heaven that surrounds us and affects us so much. Everything that comes to us from this heavenly kingdom speaks to us for good, to give comfort and make us joyful.

    Reverence for the Child

    What Jesus is saying is: “Why don’t you let the little children come to me? What sort of image have you made of man? Who created man? Look at a little child – is he not holy? Look at the heart and mind of a child. Do they not come from God? Let the children come to me – they are the way God made them. Let them come; this is where God wants to begin His new kingdom.”

    Contributed By ChristophFriedrichBlumhardt2 Christoph Friedrich Blumhardt

    A German pastor and religious socialist, Christoph Friedrich Blumhardt influenced theologians such as Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Eberhard Arnold, Emil Brunner, Oscar Cullman, and Karl Barth.

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