Sometimes I wish I didn’t have faith.
I wish I could pick up, walk away, and live in this world like a normal person.
* * *
I was talking to a good friend the other day—the kind of friend who just gets me. We’ve known each other for years. She was talking about faith.
I had asked her a couple of weeks before that over burgers and beer “how do you know that you know God?”
Because, you know, that’s my biggest struggle: an epistemology of God.
And she didn’t have an answer. Because no one ever has an answer. Because the answer is faith, which is just belief without proof (Heb. 11:1).
And then the other day she told me that she had been thinking about that question. And that she had a tentative answer.
She said that the faith inside her was there, but that it didn’t originate with her. That—and this is key—the faith is an alien faith.
That faith is a gift.
From God, perhaps.
* * *
And maybe that explains my own involvement in the church, in a community of faith, in the sacraments.
Perhaps I too am in possession of a gift, an alien faith. A certainty with no proof.
Perhaps no matter how many times I sit in my doubts or go through seasons of aversion to any explicit mention of God (I just got out of such a season), ever present faith sits within me.
Waiting. Hoping. Trusting.
* * *
Another friend of mine tweeted the other day that “God is not a question to answer. He is a person to trust.”
And I suppose that’s about right.
Not that I can really carry on a “personal relationship with Jesus” in the way it is usually thought about, as I’ve written about here.
But the story of God has enchanted me, also as I’ve written about.
But that’s not why I have faith.
I’ve written before that I believe in the Christian story because of the aesthetic of the Christ event—that traditional apologetics aren’t really convincing.
But that’s not exactly true.
I believe apart from my ability to articulate a reason, and while the aesthetic of the Christ event is the most convincing reason to my conscious mind, I would believe regardless.
Because I hold within me an alien faith.
* * *
Lent is the season in which we mourn. And groan. And repent.
It is the season where we reflect on our own deaths and the death of our Lord.
It is the season where we deny ourselves so as to create discipline.
And, for me, it is a season where I am stripping away pretenses and acknowledging to myself and to others who I am and what I think.
And this is it: sometimes I wish I didn’t have faith.
Because if I didn’t have faith, then I wouldn’t doubt. I wouldn’t wrestle. I wouldn’t struggle in the tension created by art and faith and story.
And I wouldn’t feel compelled by the Spirit within me to live the life of love.
* * *
And in the weakness and brokenness created by Lent, I am forced to rely on a God I can only know by faith.
And that makes me want to run away and hide, only to be followed by that voice echoing through eternity: