2 Corinthians 5:7 “We live by faith, not by sight.”
In the film Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade there is a memorable moment when Jones has to cross a frightening chasm. But there is no bridge…at least not a bridge that can be seen. The trick is that the bridge does not appear until Jones steps on it. With each frightening step forward, he must trust that there will be a bridge beneath his feet.
There could not be a better description of the life of faith. Faith should not be equated with certainty. There is always some element of intellectual doubt in faith. If you could prove it with the senses or scientific evidence, it would no longer be faith—it would be knowledge. Faith always involves stepping out into the unknown and trusting that when we follow where God leads, God has secured our steps.
To be sure, we gain a different kind of certainty as faith is practiced. The first steps are terrifying because we have not yet experienced God’s faithfulness in response to our trust. But, once we’ve done it a few times, we become more confident. After we see that when God says, “step out,” there is invariably a bridge, we gain an unswerving trust that knows from experience that there is a bridge out there, even if nobody can see it. It isn’t proven scientifically, it is proven through our experience. And we never have that experience until we take that first trusting step.
The trick then becomes staying close enough to God that we are following God’s leading. Once we’re used to finding secure ground where others see only disaster, it can be easy to forget that there are still chasms with no bridges. God is not going to support every foolhardy endeavor we undertake. That was the temptation that Jesus faced when the devil invited him to jump off the roof of the temple to prove that the angels would catch him. Jesus didn’t fall for it…no pun intended! God guards and secures the road that God has chosen for us to take. Other roads still have landmines, thorns, and can drop away at a moment’s notice.
So the real life of faith is not stupid and blind. Over time it becomes confident of God’s provision for our steps, even when it is the final road we walk. But as people of faith, we have to be vigilant about keeping our relationship with God alive and open. If we can no longer sense God’s nudging to walk in this way and not that, we can end up on a road where there is no bridge and be unaware of God yelling, “Turn back! Turn back!”
There are many times when I have wished that God would show me less of the chasm and more of the bridge. But that wish is seldom granted. Most of the time I receive the support in the moment I need it rather than a day or a week before. And, in the end, that is more helpful to my spiritual growth. To move forward, I have to trust. By only seeing one step at a time, I don’t forget who is providing the bridge, and I am more diligent about the spiritual disciplines to be sure I am walking in God’s way. It is a life of faith, not of sight, and although it can be scary, its end is joy.
We are walking toward you God, one scary step at a time. Thank you for the bridge beneath our feet. Amen.
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