Path of God

Day 26

Prayer for the day

When your word goes forth it gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.

Scripture for the day

Exodus 14-15, Matthew 17

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade is one of my favorite movies. I love the end when Indy has to pass the tests set before him before he reaches the Holy Grail. He has to duck the deadly blades in the “Breath of God” test, traverse the tricky falling tiles in the “Name of God,” and finally, he must leap from the lion’s head in the “Path of God” test.

During the last test, Indy states that “it’s a leap of faith…oh geez.” His disappointment is echoed by the watcher, who has seen Indy use his brains and his brawn to get out of every other deadly situation. Now, all of his wits and strength are discounted. It is only in a leap of faith that he is able to save his father.

The phrase “leap of faith” is often used to describe a step we must take where there is no surety, no guarantee, no reasonable explanation, and no possible way of knowing. It is the step of the believer, and is ridiculed as such. And in some ways, rightly so.

However, the steps of faith required by the Israelites in the story of the crossing of the Red (or Reed) Sea and in the story of the exorcism are steps of faith that make sense to the ones taking them. How can that be?

It only makes sense when we consider where the locus of faith really lies. Often when we think of a leap of faith, we think of a ridiculous step taken with no real surety. But the faith of the Israelites and the faith Jesus asks of his disciples is faith that rests not on some mindless optimism, but on the character of the God in whom they trust.

And this is why I don’t like the definitions of faith that have more to do with optimism. They don’t really take into account what Christian faith is all about. It’s not about the power of positive thinking and it’s not about just really hoping that everything will turn out ok. Christian faith bases its entire premis on the character of God. I believe that things, in the end, will work out, because God is a god who works things out in the end. He’s said so. And He tells the truth. My faith is based not on randomness nor on hope, but firmly on the character of God. It’s the only guarantee that’s worth anything.

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