John, you’re brilliant. Have you ever written about what gives you faith? Why you actually believe in God? I can’t seem to find any writings on your blog about that. If you have them, do you mind pointing us in that direction? If not…. Please… Give us some hope.
So how does it not look like I just decided to write real quick and jam into the start of this letter the words, “John, you’re brilliant”?
But that’s absurd. John would never do that.
So what this question is asking is, “What sustains your faith in God?” Even more to its point is, “How can I believe in God as you do?”
The writer knows I have faith that God is real. She wants to know what exactly, on a daily if not moment-by-moment basis, gives me that faith. And what she mostly wants to know is how she, too, can have such faith.
She wants to believe in God. She kind of does believe in God—insofar as really, really yearning to believe in something almost makes that something real.
So she’s right at the precipice between wanting and knowing. And she’s wondering how she can leap across it.
Except that she doesn’t really want to leap across that precipice. Because leaping is scary; she might fall in. What she really wants is for the precipice to close up. She wants no crack there at all. She wants to safely and easily step from where she is to where she desires to be.
What she wants is for the earth to move.
Our friend here doesn’t want faith. She wants fact.
She wants her faith to be subsumed by her knowledge. She wants faith out of the picture for her.
Which is great. Except for the fact that removing faith means simultaneously removing hope. Faith is hope. Without faith there’s no reason for hope; there’s no basis for it. Faith is necessary for hope: nobody hopes for anything that they don’t have faith can actually happen. Faith is what keeps hope real.
Lose faith, lose hope. That’s the rule of … well, the entire human relationship with the future. And it’s why a person devoid of all hope soon becomes little more than an animal.
Hope is what moves us forward. It’s what gets us up in the morning. It’s what keeps us growing, developing, planning, aspiring. It’s hope that allows for optimism. Hope is optimism.
Well, I have big hopes—hopes that extend right on past the end of my life. I don’t want things to be good just in this life. I want things to be great—for everyone, forever.
Hey. Hope big or go home. That’s my motto.
Well, hoping that on the other side of life everything works out great for everyone means having faith that that can actually happen. Which means that I must have faith in a God who can and will make that happen.
My faith in God is born of my hope for the future. (It’s also what makes all my hopes in this life make sense.) Believing in God creates for me the Really Big Context in which I get to exist as an optimistic person with real hope for a real nice eternity for everyone.
I choose to believe in God because I choose optimism. And the reason I choose optimism is because optimism is absolutely foundational for the giving (and receiving) of unconditional love. That’s what Paul is saying when he writes at the end of 1 Corinthians 13, “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
Bottom line: I choose God because I choose love. It really is that simple.