If you live with a child, or have spent any time with one, you have to admit this is pretty true. Kids see more, ask more questions, and seek more information about the world than adults do.
Just a few weeks back, my niece pointed to a small sapling peeking out of the ground. It was barely six inches tall and resembled Charlie Brown’s Christmas tree more than the old mighty trees around it. She pointed at it and asked me what it was. Honestly, if she hadn’t asked about it I probably wouldn’t have noticed it.
“That’s a baby tree. It’s just starting but it will grow tall like all these trees. They were this small a long time ago too.” I answered, sure that I nailed it.
“Oh. Then it gets big and can be a rainbow tree!”
My inflated sense of scientific pride deflated a bit. Clearly SOME of what I said made sense but I obviously hadn’t been clear enough. So I tried again.
“Kind of. It’ll get big and then it’ll be just like these trees by it.” I wisely touch a broad trunk nearby to reinforce that trees are trees, not rainbows. Miss Frizzle herself couldn’t have better at this point.
“And then a rainbow tree. I like the rainbow trees.” She looked slightly frustrated with my answer.
At this point, I was cold, my knees hurt from being crouched to her level that long, and I was lost. I sheepishly admitted I didn’t know what a rainbow tree was and asked for an explanation.
She sighed (in fairness, I probably had that coming) and came next to me, then pointed up at the colorful canopy of fall colors over our heads and in a tiny awe-filled whisper of a voice told me,
“I like it when the trees are rainbows.”
For the first time in my life, I looked at the leaves not as a sign of impending winter or of football season, but simply as the sparkling colors dancing over our heads.
Red, orange, yellow, and green leaves danced against the blue sky among shadows of indigo and violet. The trees really do become rainbows.
I couldn’t help but wonder what other things I am missing in life just because I don’t look closer or ask many questions.
In adulthood, I think it’s safe to say that we’re so worried about knowing everything that we often overlook the importance of asking questions. It’s ok not to know. It’s even better to seek knowledge from those around us and to question the world.
It’s true in all aspects of life, but it’s been feeling especially true to me in my faith. I read the Bible, hear the verses, and listen to sermons without stopping to ask about parts I don’t understand. I take what is presented to me without digging deeper.
I tend to forget what God told Jeremiah in Jeremiah 33:3, “call to me and I will answer you and tell you great unreachable things you do not know.” I know I’m not the only one.
God wants us to ask questions. To wrestle with His word. To seek more than what we see.
“It is the glory of God to conceal things, but the glory of kings is to search things out.” Proverbs 25:5
Do you know the history of what was going on when the Bible was being written? Why do you worship how you do? Who decreed the changes? How do we decide what parts of the Bible to follow and what parts do not apply to us?
What can we do with this ancient text in our modern world to actually live like Christ?
I don’t have the answers. I may never. Maybe no one does. But no matter what, we need to keep asking questions, seeking information, and embracing the curiosity of children in our faith.
And also enjoy the rainbow trees.