The Darndest Things - or - the wisdom of the child

"Kids say the darndest things." You know it. I know it. We love it.

Back when he was one of America's most beloved and cherished comics, Bill Cosby demonstrated this fact in a TV series by that name (it ran 1998 – 2000). Art Linkletter ran the original "Kids Say the Darndest Things" as a segment in his series Art Linkletter's House Party (1945 – 1969).

"Out of the mouths of babes..."

ty david and santa clausHere is another famous quote about the wisdom of the child. This one is actually based on the words of the Psalmist:

Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength because of thine enemies, that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger. ~Psalm 8:2 (KJV)

This verse is a piece of a Psalm praising the wondrous majesty and all-encompassing power of the Almighty, contrasted against the feeble and contingent "wisdom" of men and women. Verse one says that God's glory is set above the heavens. It is evident in Nature itself. Nature declares His "excellence." What a contrast then to remind us that the innocence of the child, whose faith is pure and unmarred by the cynicism and doubt that accompanies adulthood, is itself a declaration of God's supremacy.

In the Treasury of David, a commentary series on the Psalms, the wonderful preacher/theologian/author Charles Spurgeon wrote, "What a contrast between the glory above the heavens, and the mouths of babes and sucklings! yet by both, the name of God is made excellent."

Faith is the domain of the simple

At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. ~Matthew 18:1-4 (ESV)

Have you not noticed that the strongest critics and the severest criticisms of Christ, Christianity, the Bible, and religious faith in general hail from the ivory towers of higher learning? It is a fallacy of fallen flesh that the more "informed" and "sophisticated" the unregenerate mind becomes, the more it digs in its intellectual heels.

Intellectualism insists that faith and knowledge are mutually exclusive. Men and women (and whatever else we are supposed to accept exists in the realm of gender) proud of their intellectual prowess degrade people whose guiding principles are faith-based. Former President Obama, ever the arrogant intellect, once chided Americans who "cling to God and guns," as if religion is but a crutch for the pathetically uninformed or dangerously stupid people of the world.

It is true that simple faith is the requirement of the God of the Bible.  Not ignorant faith. Not uninformed faith. Not blind faith. But simple faith.

Simple faith sees Creator God in the wonders of the Creation. Simple faith believes a universe so wonderfully designed must have a wonderful Designer. Simple faith sees God in the laughter of a child and whispers, you are "fearfully and wonderfully made." Simple faith refuses to stand on intellectual pride but kneels to confess there is so much one does not know.

Faith is the habitat of the Holy God and the habit of the humble sinner saved by grace. Give me the simplicity of faith over the smug self-assurance of the sophisticate who scoffs at the very idea of it. Give me the simplicity of faith because the person asserting himself (herself, whatever's self) to be devoid of faith is the picture of woeful ignorance or willful dishonesty.

The most tragic ignorance belongs to the most educated minds. It is a travesty to know so much and yet not know what you do not know. If you don't know what you don't know, what you don't know can harm you. It will kill you. It will dull your senses. It will dim your mind. It will destroy your soul.

I know enough to trust You, Lord

Kids say the darndest things.

Back in May, my preteen grandson and I were having a discussion. I do not recall the topic, but I do recall his skepticism. I recall my efforts to convince him of whatever premise I had posited. Mostly, I recall his final word on the subject. I will never forget it. He said to me:

"I think that's reasonable, but it makes no sense." 

This is what we call a paradox, a "statement that appears to be self-contradictory or silly but may include a latent truth."

What was Ty saying? He was saying, "You are my grandfather and I know you know way more about this than I do. What you are saying is reasonable to me. I have reason to believe it because you have been telling me important stuff my whole life and you have never lied to me or led me astray before. Therefore, though I do not understand everything about this subject, it is reasonable for me to trust you because I believe you and I believe in you."

It was a statement of faith! It may seem like folly on the surface, but underneath, it is the greatest and truest wisdom belonging to man: the wisdom of simple faith in a proven source.

For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” ~1 Corinthians 1:26-31 (ESV)

Isn't that the darndest thing?