What I Know About Faith ...
... I learned from a toaster
"And we know that the Son of God came so we could recognize and understand the truth of God—what a gift!—and we are living in the Truth itself, in God’s Son, Jesus Christ."
1 John 5:20
So. I'm going to share a little known fact, even amoung my close friends: I like Woody Allen. I'm not one to re-watch his movies much but I've always appreciated them. He's a struggler. A seeker. At least, that is what shows up in his writing. One of the funniest (and most profound) lines in the movie “Hannah and her Sisters” had to do with the struggle to find faith in God. Many important questions about life were discussed. A Jewish father was asked how a good God could allow the Nazis to come to power. His father very simply answered, “I don’t even understand how the toaster works, and you want me to explain the Nazis?”
I feel sure you get that! We live in a complicated world. We enjoy the benefit of technology, but few of us claim to understand it. We are quite happy when things work well. We are quite lost when things break down! So it is with faith, isn't it? It may not be this way with you, but many have made faith a very complicated thing. For every answer, there seem to be ten thousand questions. For every "yes" there is always a "but..." We regard faith much as we do our digital watch – amazed that it works but without a clue as to why. Faith has become so complicated; we fear that if it falters we will be unable to fix it.
Do you think the Lord intended for our faith to become so complex? Did Jesus and the apostles ever intend faith to become a thing that only the "experts" could reason out and explain? I think not. Remember that John himself was a back country fisherman! His entire book calls Christians back to the very basics, back to a recollection of fundamental truths which every Christian can understand. In fact, he closes it with an appeal for simplicity, for bare faith. I am paraphrasing here: “Don’t let Satan throw you by making things more complex than they need to be,” he seems to be saying. Listen closely to his words: “Do you believe what God has said about Jesus Christ? Then you have Jesus IN you and you have LIFE.”
My husband is an engineer. He KNOWS how a toaster works ... but he doesn't care. If he wants toast, he just makes toast. I realize this is also part of "being a guy" but ... he sees a lot of things that way in his brilliant analytical mind. I can ruminate for DAYS about things that only receive a mental shrug from him.
But here's the thing ... he has had PLENTY of things happen to him in life that would emotionally confound a person of his ilk more often that not. I'm not saying he blows life things off like that at all. He does not. In fact, he has struggled deeply through them. However, he learned earlier than most that horrible things do happen. I could hear him answering similarly as the Jewish father in Mr. Allen's movie, except my husband might have this response: "I KNOW how a toaster works, but does it matter? Sometimes toast still gets burned. You still have bread. Stick another one in there. Keep living." Believe me, he knows.
Let the Lord show that it doesn't matter WHY things happen, but it matters THAT THEY DO. Good or bad. Hallelujahs or tragedies. God will make better choices than you will, because he has all the background information. If you’re facing a slammed door, a damaged relationship, or a failure in life, God is still in charge. He does loves you and he does have a plan.
Too simple? Well, yes. Yes, it is.
In the words of a great statesman, “We have nothing to fear save fear itself.” I know you would prefer not to let anyone take your assurance away from you. So you hang on to it. NEVER BE AFRAID. And knowing this, regardless of what life throws at you, I know you won't let anything cause you to doubt and lose your confidence in Christ either.
P.S. Sometimes, a healthy skepticism is a characteristic we all could use. And so is the wisdom to confront things which don’t seem right (rather than hoping they’ll go away...). Is there is such a thing as being too tolerant, too patient, and too open minded? You decide. ;-)