I sometimes think that it would be nice to have the kind of simplistic faith that I see represented in various ways. Everything would be so black and white–no ambiguity, no questions. “God said it; I believe it; that settles it.”
But then I think again.
As I read the scriptures, we’re not called to have a simplistic faith. A simple faith, yes….the kind of complete trust that a child has in a loving parent.
But a simplistic faith ignores the complexities of life…the fact that there are gray areas. Too often I’ve seen this kind of faith exemplified by folks who refuse medical treatment in favor of prayer to the detriment of the patient…or who believe that if they do everything “right,” that their lives will never have any major problems…or who make financial decisions without considering the cost, believing that because this is what God wants, God will take care of them…or who reject friends or family members whose behaviors “don’t fit” their belief systems…or who handle poisonous snakes because the Bible says that God will protect them.
A simple faith–to my way of thinking–is one that trusts God but doesn’t check our God-given brain at the door! God gave us abilities, gave us gifts, gave us minds–and I believe God expects us to use them.
There’s a story about a man whose house was caught in a flood.
The river is overflowing, with water surrounding the farmer’s home up to his front porch. As he is standing there, a boat comes up, The man in the boat says “Jump in, I’ll take you to safety.” The farmer crosses his arms and says stubbornly, “Nope, I put my trust in God.”
The boat goes away. The water rises to the second floor. Another boat comes up, the man says to the farmer who is now in the second story window, “Jump in, I’ll save you.” The farmer again says, “Nope, I put my trust in God.”
The boat goes away. Now the water is up to the roof. As The farmer stands on the roof, a helicopter comes over, and drops a ladder. The pilot yells down to the farmer “I’ll save you, climb the ladder.” The farmer says “Nope, I put my trust in God.”
The helicopter goes away. The water comtinues to rise and sweeps the farmer off the roof. He drowns. The farmer goes to heaven. God sees him and says “What are you doing here?”
The farmer says “I put my trust in you and you let me down.” God says, “What do you mean, let you down? I sent you two boats and a helicopter!!!”
To me that’s an example of a simplistic faith.
The faith that I believe we are called to have is the kind of faith that sees God working through many means–as in the man in the boats or the helicopter pilot. Does it mean a simple life? Nope. Life is full of complexities. But a simple faith allows us to trust–trust God and each other, that we are doing our best to live the kind of life that brings wholeness and healing to all.