It was time for supper and as the family was about to sit down to eat, ten-year-old Martina came from the bedroom she shared with her younger sister carrying the Bible and the Advent wreath made by her little sister in kindergarten. “Papa, here are the Bible and the Advent wreath Sonja made in kindergarten. Please read to us from the Bible about the coming of Jesus,” requested Martina.
“I’m hungry and tired. Take that to your bedroom. I don’t want to hear anything about that Bible stuff,” rebuffed her father. Sadly Martina returned the Bible and Advent wreath to their bedroom.
The next evening before supper, Martina again brought the Bible and Advent wreath to the table and asked her father to read to the family, but was again told to put the Bible and Advent wreath away. For several evenings, Martina persisted in her request to have her father read from the Bible, only to be rebuffed.
After more than a week of this ongoing interchange between the father and his older daughter, the father discussed with the mother how it could be that his daughter could be so persistent in her request to have him read from the Bible. He told his wife that he needed to find out why this book was so important to his daughter when normally she would not ask again if told no the first time.
The father began to search for the answer in the book from which his daughter asked him to read. His private reading eventually led him to understand the source of his child’s desire to have him read to the family. He came to realize that his daughter believed what the Bible said about Jesus as her Savior. But he couldn’t understand how she could believe something that didn’t make sense to him or his wife. She was only a child, and he had difficulty understanding what it meant when it said that God loved us so much to send his Son to die for us. But it was clear that his daughter believed this! How could she believe this when he couldn’t understand it?
He soon learned that God’s Word provided the answer in the Gospel of St. Matthew, when Jesus explains to His disciples that a child-like faith is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven: Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me” (Matthew 18:2–4).
Martina’s father eventually learned, just as Jesus’ disciples did, that the only way he could have that child-like faith was by spending time with Jesus in His Word. Eventually, Martina’s father was converted by the Holy Spirit through an in-depth study of the Bible under the guidance of a missionary. He could now rejoice in that he was blessed with the same child-like faith as his daughter!
Bethany Lutheran College