The Mystery of Faith: I Don’t Understand It, Do You?

I believe strongly in few things. Even in that short list of things I truly believe, there remains much that I don’t understand. I have more questions than I do answers. And, yet…

I BELIEVE

I HAVE FAITH

I TRUST

I have no idea how to explain it to you.

There are others who would provide you with the logic behind their faith. They can build a seemingly strong case, citing historical and philosophical evidence for what they believe. Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis is an amazing documentation of this scholar’s philosophical and spiritual journey from one question to the next and the resulting conclusions. A Case for Christ by Lee Strobel shares the research of this journalist as he sought to debunk the historicity of Christ.

Yet, in both of these personal journals of spiritual exploration, I found still a chasm that remained when they had reached the end of their questions. Their minds could only take them to edge of the chasm and provide them a glimpse of something on the other side. It never provided a solid bridge which they could walk across or to which they could direct the steps of another. C.S. Lewis tells of his moment of crossing that chasm at the end of his memoir, the title of which is also his description of that moment, Surprised by Joy.

I was once asked in an interview to list the top three unshakable truths of my own personal faith. It was a question that I did not answer quickly or flippantly. I wanted to be honest with myself as well as with those who would read my answer. This is what I came up with:

  1. Jesus is God.
  2. God is good.
  3. God loves me with an unconditional love.

As I said at the beginning, I cannot fully explain to you why I believe these things and hold to them so strongly. God has not always responded to my prayer or the prayers of others in the ways I expected or hoped. He has not always intervened to protect the innocent, even when specifically asked to do so. And yet, when I looked across the chasm and had to make the choice to believe and trust in his goodness and his love, to make a step beyond the edge of understanding, I did so.

The best I can explain that step is to call it an act of my will, a choice within my own spirit, to trust the Spirit that was reaching out to me and drawing me. A Spirit that was not begging, not insisting, but simply revealing his nature and identity to me, inviting me to let go of my self-sovereignty and unite myself to him, fully trusting.

To turn away from that invitation, in that moment, was quite possible; I listed all the reasons why I could not make such a commitment of trust. I was a weak person. I was a follower, not a leader. Yet, the thought of walking away from the opportunity to cross the chasm was horrifying. What if I never found my way back to that place again? What if the invitation was not offered again? After all, He was the initiator, not me. He had chosen to reveal himself on that day and at that moment in time.

I could not risk it. I would choose to trust him. I knew it would cost me, though I wasn’t sure what all would be included in the price. But the love I saw and experienced were without price and unattainable from any other source. The one I chose to trust, hung on a wooden cross. His eyes were filled with intense pain, and at the same time, they were filled with the most intense love I had ever seen.

There was a knowing that filled my own spirit that night. I knew that I was in some way the cause of all that pain, yet also the great object of his love.

It is a mysterious thing, the love and trust I have for my Jesus, the Son of God, the Son of Man. I guess that is part of the reason why it remains so strong.

 

 

6 Comments The Mystery of Faith: I Don’t Understand It, Do You?

  1. Karen Lucille Gross

    I don’t think anyone really understands faith. I have admired and studied the works of C.S. Lewis and Lee Strobel too. I find their faith stories fascinating, especially the process of “conversion” from atheist to Christian. They both have brilliant, logical, intelligent reasons for why Christianity makes sense, but those arguments had little to do with why or how they actually made that leap of faith.The process is more like the wooing of the Holy Spirit. Like falling in love. I could make a list of all of the reasons why I love my husband, but I didn’t know any of those things before I “fell” in love with him. I think it is the same way with God — I love Him because He first loved me.

    A mutual friend of ours once asked me what it would take to get me to change sides. If he could prove that God doesn’t exist, would I accept the proof? I said no. There are Biblical answers to all of the questions that atheists ask, and they have arguments against all of the proofs that we give as the reasons why we believe, I think it is important for Christians to know the answers for why we believe, but how is very much a mystery to me too.

    Reply
    1. Kathleen

      And how could someone ever prove that God does not exist? It would be like trying to prove to me that I do not actually exist. (There are people who do believe that our physical bodies, at the very least, are not reality.) For those whose belief is cognitive, certainly, you could sway them with adequate reasoning, but for those of us who do not base our faith on intellectual ascent, what argument could you present? Always appreciate your input, Karen.

      Reply
  2. Cristy Kintop

    Nice! And what is “faith” if not the belief in things not yet seen or understood? A clear path across the chasm would obliterate the very need for faith and obedient love.

    Reply

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