Oh, help me, God! For thou alone
Canst my distracted soul relieve.
Forsake it not: it is thine own,
Though weak, yet longing to believe. (Anne Brontë)
After eight days his disciples were again in a house and Thomas was with them. Even though the doors were locked, Jesus entered and stood among them. He said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here. Look at my hands. Put your hand into my side. No more disbelief. Believe!” (John 20:26-27; context)
On Monday, I mentioned that belief is a tricky concept. It’s tricky for several reasons. Here’s one. Yesterday, I used the image of jumping into a parent’s arms on your first visit to the pool. You jumped because you believed what your parent said. He or she would catch you, no matter what. Equating this belief with belief in God is where everything gets tricky. Here’s the problem.
There is a chance, however slim, that your parent would fail to catch you.
No matter how earnestly we believed in a parent’s infallibility or a coach’s perfection or a teacher’s omniscience, those people turned out to be…well, people. They were all stricken with the gene for human failure. Of course, not being perfect didn’t make them bad people. It just made them people. When we equate our belief in humans with our belief in God, we often make the mistake of hedging our bets were God is concerned. We apply to God the expectations we have when we believe in other people, thus unwittingly reducing God’s power and glory to the levels that fit comfortably in a human body.
Now, please don’t misunderstand. I’m not telling you to cut off all human contact because those fallible humans are not to be trusted. Human beings are fundamentally good. We usually do the right thing. We usually live up to the trust others have in us. What I am saying is this: there is no “usually” with God. God always does the right thing. God always lives up to the trust we place in God. So when you speak of belief, remember that God is the One in whom you can always rest your weight.
Dear God, you are present in my life and you are constantly breathing creation into being: help me to believe in you so that I may see your movement in my life and help others to see your movement in theirs; in Jesus Christ’s name. Amen.
I leave this moment with you, God, knowing that you are the foundation of all truth. You believe in me, which allows me to believe in you.