Trust more than Knowledge
My dad was standing in the deep end of the pool holding out his hands inviting me to jump. I loved playing in the shallow end. But my father wanted me to jump into the deep end. I knew viscerally deep water was dangerous. I also knew my father took care of me. Now, however, I had to hold these two facts in competition, to either jump or not.
People think knowledge is the most important thing in life, but wisdom is actually about relationships, about imperfect knowledge. It is about trust, faith, belief. I knew deep water was dangerous, but the relationship with my dad, after some reluctance, said it was okay to jump. I did not know it would turn out okay, but I decided to trust the relationship.
Today’s gospel says God so loved the world he gave his son, that all who believe in him will not perish. Many have misread this text. They think it means that if we believe some fact about Jesus we get a reward. The text does not mean that. It says believe in HIM, not in some FACT about him. It is about relationship, not fact. Everlasting life is not a reward to those who believe the right things are true. Everlasting life is a gift received when entering a trusting relationship with the mystery lying behind life, and all that is, whom Jesus calls Father.
To believe in Jesus is to trust him. He gives us counsel, we try it out. He sets an example, we imiatate it. He tells us the strength we need will be provided, we launch out courageously. As we trust our frienship more, he gives us life more abundantly.
Moses and early church theologians tell us God is beyond our knowledge: God is mystery. If we desire to explore the mysterious leadings and longings of our hearts, we must leave the safety of the shallow end, of knowledge alone. We can embrace Jesus and the gift of life, trusting in hope that our hearts’ longings will be satisfied. We jump in the deep end believing that loving arms will catch us, and show us wonders heretofore unimagined. ~Father John