Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Just Because

This haggard mind is full of stuff. I've been educated, influenced, coerced, and guided. In college I majored in Chemistry. As part of that I studied math and physics, and took a class in Logic to help understand it all. Logic is a division of Philosophy, and I became fascinated by the writings of Socrates, Aristotle, Plato, Nietzche, Plutarch, and a bunch of others.

When I found Chemistry-- which was always fun and new in school-- to be skull-numbingly boring in industry, I heard the call again. The call to ministry. I chose a seminary, and found myself buried in a mire of liberalism. It was a fight to stay on track while deluged with the teachings of names like Schleiermacher, Bultmann, Kierkegaard, and Tillich. (Big names. Some hard to pronounce. Most of them hard to understand, too.) I often found myself standing alone in my belief in the resurrection of Jesus Christ and the authority of the Bible.

Finally, though, I started sinking, wondering if I was on the right track. I was afraid that not only would my beliefs be broken down, but my very faith would die. Then I read a familiar story in the Gospels, and it was like the Lord literally opened the top of my head and poured understanding directly into my haggard mind.

Jesus was in town with his disciples, teaching them in parables as he often did. Somebody spotted him, and told some other people that he was there. Soon people were gathering around, and many of them were bringing their kids, asking him to bless them. Jesus' disciples were irritated at this, and told the folks to take their noisy brats somewhere else. (Of course, I'm seriously paraphrasing this, but you get the idea.)

Jesus let his guys know in no uncertain terms that they were wrong about that. He "rebuked" them, which means he royally chewed them out, telling them sharply how he disapproved of their actions. Then he called some of the kids to come to him. He took them in his arms, blessed them, and said to all who would hear, "Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it." (Luke 18.17)

I suddenly realized why I fought so hard to defend what I believed. Why all the education in chemistry and physics and philosophy and evolution and quantum theory had done nothing but make my faith stronger. I suddenly understood the main reason WHY I believe in God. I believe in the same way that I believed as a kid in Sunday School.

Why does a child believe? No reason. Just because. That's what Jesus meant. We need to receive the kingdom the same way that a little child receives it.

For all the doubts and confusion and pressures that I have faced, through education and work and life, I believe without a reason. I've studied and questioned, which is what God wants us to do. But really, I don't need a reason to believe. I just do. And that is ultimately what makes my faith unshakable.

"No reason. Just because."