When I grew up there was a popular saying, ‘Children are to be seen not heard.’ Well, Jesus had something different to say about children – ‘Unless you become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.’ He also said, ‘Let the little children come to me . . . for such is the kingdom of heaven.’ Children were obviously important to Jesus.
There is something refreshing about a little child’s faith. It can be so simple and pure. They can believe for things adults often find hard to do. Let me share one such story concerning a missionary mother and her child in the Muslim Middle East, who lived in a place called ‘Little Town.’
“On the way out of Little Town to do some errands one morning, seven-year-old Tim was sitting in the front seat of the car. He was unusually quiet and thoughtful as I drove down the dusty street. Breaking the silence, he decided to voice the concerns that were weighting on his young mind. ‘Mom, are we going to live in Little Town forever?’
The negative tone of the question surprised me since Tim had always been happy with his life here. He’d never known any other home. When we left the States, Tim had been less than three years old. Those first few years of his life had been spent traveling to hundreds of churches to share our vision and establish a support base. Our house in Little Town was the very first home we’d had as a family. Getting down to the reason for his question, I asked, ‘Why? Don’t you want to live here forever?’
With the kind of soberness that comes from having thoroughly examined an idea from all sides, he admitted, ‘I want to live in America sometimes because it snows there and it never snows here. The kids in America get to play in the snow every day.’
Tim’s answer was a relief. And cute. I was glad to know we weren’t facing a major crisis. However, I also knew that no amount of global warming was going to make it snow in our desert. Trying to sound encouraging, I reminded my child that although it couldn’t snow in a place like this, it did rain here in the winter, and rain is fun too.
‘But we had winter, and it didn’t rain.’ he lamented.
Unfortunately, he was right. The fact was that it hadn’t rained for the past three winters. The concept that God must have a good reason for not making it rain and that there was probably some great higher purpose did little to satisfy his boyish yearnings. Giving up my lame attempts at reason, I tried to cheer Tim up by talking about what he wanted to do the next time it did rain. He promptly rattled off a whole list of ideas for playing in the rain. It was obvious he’d been pondering this weather subject for some time. As he was talking, a lightbulb clicked on somewhere in Tim’s mind. He had a brilliant idea!
‘You know, Mom, God could make it rain in the summer. He can make it rain whenever He wants to.’
Immediately I knew where his line of thinking was headed. Oh no! I thought. Lord don’t let his kid pray for rain. Let me confess right here, I didn’t believe God would send rain. First of all, the weathermen here don’t even have to get out of bed in the morning. There’s nothing for them to forecast. Every day it’s ‘hot, sunny, and clear,’ and in the summer it’s ‘hotter, sunnier, and clearer.’ Second, we were in the middle of a three-year drought. Third, it was August – the hottest, driest time of the calendar year. Sure, God can do anything, but He wasn’t going to suddenly make it rain right out of the (literally) blue sky). I couldn’t imagine how our young son would ever take such a hit to his faith.
But he grew bolder as he went on, ‘God can make it rain right now. I think we should ask Him. Let’s pray.’
Before I could say anything, Tim’s small hand was firmly gripping mine, and his head was bowed in prayer. ‘Dear God, if it would please You, and if it won’t mess up any of Your other plans, could You please make it rain? We’ll understand if there’s some reason You don’t want it to rain right now, but if it would be okay, we’d really like some rain.’
The next day was a normal summer day. Our window-unit air conditioners were managing to keep the house at around 85 to 90 degrees, which was at least 30 degrees below the outdoor temperature. Tim was playing alone in his room and I was in the middle of vacuuming the living room. As often happens in the summer months, the electricity cut out. With the roaring and rattling of all the machines silenced, the house grew very still – and very hot – very quickly. Not knowing how long the outage would last, I lay down on the carpet to rest from the heat until the immobilized machinery would be able to start up again. Because of the interruption to our activity and the intense quiet, Tim and I gradually became aware of a sound outside. It was a kind of rumbling sound.
Tim mentioned it first. ‘Mom, do you hear that?’
It sounded like thunder, but of course it wasn’t. ‘It must be a plane,’ I answered. The rumbling sound swelled again. ‘No,’ I admitted, ‘that couldn’t be a plane. Let’s go look.’
Opening the front door, I was surprised at how dark it was outside. It was just about noon, but it looked as it the sun had almost set. Unable to see the sky because of the porch roof, which extended fourteen feet outward from the house, we had to go all the way out into the yard in order to look up and see what was going on.
There, poised directly about our house, was the darkest, densest rain cloud I have ever seen. Hanging unusually low, it looked as if it had been pulled down out of the sky by the burden of its own immense weight. About two city blocks in size, as best I could guess from where I stood beneath it, the cloud was perfectly centered above our home. Tim and I stood there looking up, mouths gaping. Then we heard another sound. It was the plink! plink! plink! of raindrops beginning to fall onto our corrugated metal carport.
‘Tim! God is answering your prayer! Do you feel the raindrops? It’s actually raining!’
Tim put his hands on his hips and surveyed the situation. ‘Actually, I was expected more rain than his.’ Resolved to make the most of it anyway, he turned to go in and get his umbrella. As soon as he did, the cloud broke. It was a full-fledged downpour.
Our neighbors emerged from their houses and stood in the rain, undeterred by the soaking. Looking up at the spectacle, they marveled to one another, ‘What is this? How can this be?’ Children came out of the woodwork and into the streets to play in the cooling rain. Tim got to do everything on his what-he-would-do-if-it-rained list and then came inside to ask me for a cup of hot cocoa. (‘Because,’ he explained, ‘that’s what kids in America do after they play in the rain.’) When he was finished, the rain stopped.
Sometimes I wonder: What if Tim had prayed for snow?
As I have already said, there is something beautiful and refreshing about a child who believed for an impossible things to happen when adults could not.
I believe the time is coming when we will see more and more children begin to move in the power and anointing of the Holy Spirit, with a gift of faith and a child like boldness that will surprise many older believers.
The Bible has many stories of young people that God used in powerful ways including –
Let’s believe for more Samuels, more Davids and more Daniels. Let’s get ready for a whole army. For in these last days, God will pour out His Spirit on all flesh and that includes children and young people.