Summary: In the struggles and hard times of our lives, we are called to look beyond our own understanding, beyond our reasoning and recognize that faith the size of a mustard seed can move mountains. In your life if you have not already experienced them, times wil
“‘But Jesus…’: Faith in the Face of Reason”
For many people, the events of this fall have resulted in changed lives. In the beginning of September we traveled on airlines without fear and seldom gave thought to things like anthrax and small pox. Before September 11th, few people knew the name Osama Bin Laden but today it’s a household name. We lived in what we felt was a safe, protected country. But our security has been shattered. We need not rehash the terrible things that happened on September 11th; however, I believe that we need to think seriously about faith in the face of those events. Very few of us were directly affected by the terrorist attacks. I know that our hearts and prayers and thoughts went out to the families of those lost, but I also now understand more than ever that as Jim Wallis said, “We don’t know something, really know something, until it changes our lives.”
This fall my life was changed and I experienced pain, real pain, for the first time. I know how these families feel, and my heart aches for their loss. In the midst of these times the challenge becomes, how does faith make a difference? On September 11th, people began asking, “Where was God? Why didn’t He stop this?” I understand those questions, because I asked the same ones when my baby boy was lost. “Where was God? Why didn’t he prevent this terrible thing from happening?”
If you have ever been through loss in your life you know that you seek answers. The most difficult thing about loss, is that sometimes there are no answers. There are no answers to why terrible things have to happen to decent people. Things simply don’t make sense. In these times reason is useless. Those who try to reason away pain and suffering only do more damage.
Where does that leave us? Where do we go when we lack reasons? Where do we turn when reason gives us no direction? Where we do look when reason leaves us blind? Someone once said, “Every tomorrow has two handles. We can take hold of it by the handle of anxiety or by the handle of faith.”
What is faith? Let’s take a look at what these people had to say. As you watch this clip jot down the answers that had the strongest impact on you… (VIDEO CLIP)
Today I want us to think seriously with our hearts and minds about faith in the face of times when there is no reason and faith in the face of reason. As we prepare our hearts to search the meaning of faith let us first look to our God in prayer. Let us pray… “O God, our help in ages past, our hope for years to come, be present in our hearts and minds today, that as we shrink before the mystery of your greatness, we may be comforted with your everlasting arms of love. Enlarge, inflame and fill our hearts with faith that can move mountains. Give us faith, real faith, in the face of the trials which shake our lives. For we ask it in the name of Jesus Christ, the author and perfector of our faith. Amen.”
I want you to close your eyes, if you feel so comfortable, and travel with me to another time and another place. Travel with me back to your childhood home, the home you lived in when you were five years old. Now I want you to imagine yourself in your tree house or your bedroom or wherever you were most comfortable and felt safest. Now think with me to how it felt to be five years old. You’re innocent enough to not understand the world around you but guilty enough to be able to disobey your parents. Do you remember your favorite toy? Think with me about how you viewed the world. You didn’t need to worry about job performance. You had no concern for the gas bill or the mortgage payment. In fact, you knew nothing of these. You didn’t have to worry about the responsibilities of adult hood because your parents or grandparents or whoever raised you took care of those things for you. You would go to the dinner table every night not worrying about where the food was coming from. You were taken places in a vehicle never worrying about how the person was driving. If you were fortunate you awoke on Christmas morning to gifts, believing that Santa Claus had brought them. Life was simple… OK you can open your eyes.
As a child we exercise a great amount of faith not even knowing it. We believe in things that we cannot see. We believe in Santa Claus and we trust that our parents or guardians will take care of us never imagining anything different. But as you know the naiveté of childhood soon disappears and is replaced with the complexity of life. Soon we are faced with reality, a reality we would rather not have known. And as we grow older, that child-like faith becomes increasingly difficult to exercise because we learn of the existence of reason.