Updated: Jan 6
“You never know how much you really believe anything until its truth or falsehood becomes a matter of life and death to you. It is easy to say you believe a rope to be strong and sound as long as you are merely using it to cord a box. But suppose you had to hang by that rope over a precipice. Wouldn't you then first discover how much you really trusted it?”
― C.S. Lewis
As a kid, I loved playing make-believe. I became the queen bee ruler of our yellow treehouse, a fearless princess-pirate (I know, a very weird combo, but that is what make-believe is for right?) in our backyard creek, the animal tamer of the circus ring I concocted from rocks and sticks, and a cheerful bus driver for my stuffed animals and dolls. You name it, I claimed it - and had a blast losing myself in each day's adventures!
Now, with my years far outweighing my imagination, I have long ago boxed up the days of childhood folly. But the lilting memories still brush my thoughts and usher me back down the winding rabbit hole of my mind and into another place, even just for a short and blissful moment. They beckon me back to that simpler time where pretend lands and personas were as easy to slip into and out of as a favorite pair of slippers.
My real-life days now have real-life bills and really bad cable news and traffic jams and very tall teenage kids that argue and sometimes say words that crush. All these things can overwhelm and make me want to quickly escape to another world (truth be told).
But I soon realize that it is not very helpful for me as one of the only two grownups of the house to just tune out and begin to make-believe another reality for myself, as much as I would like to. Besides, dreaming of being on a deserted island with nothing but an ice-cold basil lemonade and a good book won't make it come true. Oh, but doesn't it sound just lovely right about now?
These are the times when I must dig deeper into my faith and in what is always real, grounding my spastic thoughts and detoured diversions. I hold tight to my belief in God, the One that never changes, but always changes me into the best version of myself, right where I'm at. He is more real than anything the world can throw my way or want to take away.
Because I know Him to be wholly trustworthy, I count on His words spoken to His dear friend Martha as recorded in John 11:25 to be true for you and me too:
"I am the resurrection and the life. The person who believes in me, even though he dies, will live."
The key to eternal life offered up to us all. Then, in the next breath, He utters the question we individually must answer before our last breath here. We must choose. He says to her, piercing right through the soul's heart: "Do you believe this, Martha?” (NLT)
This query is the steepest precipice cliff of all time. We all hang off it at one time or another. And, like the quote above from C.S. Lewis exhorts us to ask: How trustworthy is our rope?
Belief is a discovery journey we walk alone with God. It is not something anyone else can do for us. But, by His deep grace, God has left overwhelming evidence of His existence and love for us easily found in nature's miraculous beauty and in the black, white, and red letters of history's record and scriptures telling us that: Christ made the blind see, the lepers' oozing lesions smooth, the crippled body parts straight, and spoke dead people back to life. ONLY He did that. And, with only His voice and touch no less.
Numerous and credible eyewitness accounts and the martyrdom of His first disciples speak in crescendo volumes. They did not die for a make-believe God. They saw with their own eyes the Messiah that came to save us all and they died horrific deaths knowing they were on the side of Truth. They saw the resurrected Jesus and knew they had found God Himself and believed.
We cannot force people into belief and into Salvation's hands like fireflies into a jar. How I wish I could! But, if God Himself will not, who am I to think such things? All we can do is pray and ask the Father to soften and ready the hearts and be ready to receive when we share and then give reason for our belief if and when they ask us about it one day:
"Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it." (1 Peter 3:15 NLT)
Make-believe is fun, but child's play. Our salvation is much too important to leave to our imagination. As we grow, we must face harder things. But, friends, this choice is easier than you think when you choose to seek Him. He is just waiting right outside your heart to ask you the question..."Beloved, do YOU believe?"
Questions: Have you looked deep into Jesus' eyes yet? Are you ready for His question of belief? Will you consider it today and begin your journey on the path of faith in what is True?