Monday, June 29, 2015

Leap of fath

We have been following a series of Reasons to Believe on this blog.  Today is day 6 and tomorrow will be the last one.  Among other things, so far we have looked at how the Bible is actually very reliable as a source of history.  We have also looked at how evolution can't really explain where anything comes from and how you can't get something from nothing.

So today we want to look at the big picture - how we approach the whole idea of God and sometimes how we approach it all wrong.

It reminds me of a cold rainy day in August walking on the beach.  A friend of mine thought it would be crazy to jump in the ocean in the rain.  I wasn't about to get wet.  When she jumped in she shouted out how warm it was.  I wasn't about to buy it.  Coaxing me to join her, I went to water's edge and felt the water - no way I am going in that, I thought to myself.

"No really, you have to experience it to know what it is like," she shouted. "It's really warm!"

Truthfully, the water was warmer than the air that day but I wasn't about to get in.  There were other times in my life that I swam in the ocean and experienced what my friend was talking about.  When the water is warmer than the air, it is delicious to swim up to your neck - it makes it feel like bathwater, especially when it is raining.  But you will never get that feeling unless you jump in.  I wasn't about to risk being wrong so I had to wait to feel what it was like until a later time.

That is kind of like what faith is.

We like to find reasons to believe.  We think that walking up to the edge of belief and sticking our toe in will help us know what it is like.  If only God had constructed faith this way - read a bunch of books, ask a bunch of questions and if we have enough reasons then we can believe.

But then it wouldn't be faith . . .

It would be called 'support' or 'because' or 'reasons' - but you can never call something faith that you don't jump into.

Gotthold Lessing gave rise to the phrase 'leap of faith' that people use sometimes to talk about following Jesus.  It doesn't mean blindly putting your faith in something - there can be a lot of talk, reading and research but in order for faith to be faith you need to leave behind certainty and jump in.  The leap literally means leaving one side of the chasm (certainty) in order to commit to landing on the other side of something you are not sure of yet.  Faith is the midpoint - being in mid-air - fully departed from the place you started but not yet landing on the other side.  In other words you have to chose to believe even when you don't have all the answers.  Anything else is playing it safe.

Augustine said it like this:

"Credo Ut Intelligam"  (Believe in order to understand)

So many of us try to understand what we want to believe and then believe it.  We calculate, estimate and forecast what it might be like . . . and never leap.  What if today's Reason to Believe was a call from the water . . .

"Trust me . . . it makes sense once you get in."

That is not to say that following Jesus makes anything easier.  Jesus offered peace with God, not a perfect life.  But there is something to say about choosing to believe.  Once you decide to believe and follow Christ with your life - you understand that it was never about figuring it out to begin with.  I mean, it only makes sense that a God that looks for a relationship with us is really looking for us to depend on Him and not so much our thoughts about Him.

That is why it is called faith.

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