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Faith Like a Child
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I will never forget his face. Looking up at me he appeared close to tears. I felt terrible for putting him through this but I had to finish the process even though it was breaking my heart.

I was sharing morning chapel with a group of fifth graders and had placed three cups of water on a table in front of the class. I proceeded to explain that I added a colorless, odorless substance to one of the cups that could kill them in four or five minutes. Then I asked the question: “Is there anyone who is willing to come forward, choose one of these three cups and drink it?”

I know. Sounds cruel, doesn’t it? But invariably, in the many times I have used this illustration in school groups, someone comes forward.

On this particular day a little red-headed boy raised his hand and soon stood before me and the three ominous cups. I reiterated the situation he faced regarding the deadly substance I had added to one of the cups. The boy’s countenance began to change from confidence to anticipation, and then to fear. I was beginning to wonder if I should ever do this illustration again and if I could be sued for mental cruelty.

With Shaky Hands

Little Ken felt he must go through with his commitment to save face with the class. With shaky hands he took the middle cup and raised it to his trembling lips. I was feeling worse about myself by the minute. Was I scarring this kid for life? Would his dad look me up and do me in?

We all watched as Ken slowly emptied the cup, placed it back on the table and looked up at me with questioning eyes. Placing my hand on his shoulder I quickly assured him, “Ken, you didn’t drink the wrong cup. The clear, odorless substance I added to one of the cups was nothing but more water. If you put your face in it long enough, yes it can kill you. Right?” Ken took a deep breath of relief and offered a weak smile.

I continued by asking Ken the question I always did at the conclusion of this experiment: “Ken, why did you drink that cup knowing you could die if you picked the wrong one?” The answer broke my heart and still does today. Looking up at me, his eyes misty, he softly said, “Because I knew you wouldn’t let me die.” What an incredible model of faith I will never forget! I now understand more clearly why Jesus said, “Unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3).

Here is the simple yet profound conclusion: little Ken knew me. By knowing me he trusted me with his very life. I am reluctantly confronted with this question: do I exhibit that same child-like trust in my Savior? I must confess--I too often hesitate to drink the cup.

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By David Snyder. Copyright © 2010 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture taken from the NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®.

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