Do you really believe what you believe?
If you think it’s an odd question, here’s a story.
A man stretched a cable about 6 feet off the ground between two tall buildings on opposite sides of the street. As a small crowd of curious onlookers gathered, the man walked from one end to the other while pushing a wheelbarrow.
Then he raised the cable to the height of the second-story windows. The crowd grew a bit and applauded as the man again pushed the wheelbarrow from one end to the other. By the time he repeated his feat at five stories, a rather large crowd cheered.
Finally the acrobat moved the cable to the roof, perhaps 12 stories above the street. He shouted to a guy who’d been watching the entire performance from a nearby window.
“Do you believe I can push the wheelbarrow from one side to the other?”
“Sure,” the guy replied.
“Are you certain? Do you really believe I can do it?”
“Why not? I saw you do it three times. Of course I really believe it.”
“Okay.” The acrobat pointed to his wheelbarrow. “Hop in.”
Do you think the guy really believed? Enough to bet his life?
We use “believe” kind of loosely. I believe often means I think or I wish or I kind of hope. Jesus calls for something different, something more solid, something on which we’re willing to stand.
Belief defines what you’re willing to trust, even when you can’t see it.
Maybe I think the acrobat can repeat his feat. I’m not sure I really believe it.
Last time I said justice is a process rather than a result. But the result matters – a lot.
I’m furious when I think of children in sexual slavery. I don’t want to be patient. I want to gather a heavily-armed posse, bust down doors, break some heads, and rescue every child, right now.
Investing heart and soul in the process of justice, working patiently through the process of forging relationships, requires belief. Leaning into The Beatitudes requires belief. Supporting one group of 22 kids, when there are so many who need help, requires belief.
Belief that Jesus sees the world from a place I can’t imagine, that He holds every single child in His hands, that the ultimate result of justice is assured.
I don’t know how that works. That’s okay.
I just need to believe what I believe.