Forgive me if I smile, when you speak of Faith in God…
It’s just that you remind me, of a child on a log.
Several years back we had a child living with us who was petrified of the water. While other children jumped into the ponds to cool off in the heat of day, he would stand or sit along the bank, by himself, watching the fun… but refusing to go even close to the water’s edge.
At one end of the pond the children had placed a log and used it for a bridge and platform for diving. It became the main attraction and everyone had tried at least once to cross the log without falling in… everyone that is except for the young boy, who watched with great interest… but refused all invitations to give it a try.
One day as I sat drinking my morning coffee, in the gazebo by the pond, I heard a loud cry for “Help!” I jumped to my feet and found the young boy hugging the log with both his arms and legs. Tears filled his eyes as he dangled just inches from the top of the water that he feared so much. “Help!” he cried again, as he saw me approaching.
I stopped in my tracks and began to laugh… “Just let go.” I responded, knowing his life was not in danger.
“I can’t,” he cried hysterically, “I will drown.”
“No you won’t,” I responded, still laughing at his dilemma. “The water beneath you is not that deep.”
Unconvinced, he continued to hold on to the log; hoping somehow it would save him, but it did nothing at all… and when the last of his strength was nearly gone and his options had run out, he slowly dropped his feet into the pond and to his astonishment stood knee deep in the water, next to the log.
His fear of water conquered, within days he was blissfully swimming along with the other children, enjoying not only the log, but the water as well.
FAITH: trusting in something you cannot explicitly prove.
Why would I want to challenge a person’s Faith? After all, people of Faith have performed many supposed miracles and have lived exemplary life’s. For some, Faith in a God is the only thing that prevents them from being evil, despicable beings… or so it is said. Many people have even died because of, or for, their faith in a God, or a set of doctrines, and for a majority of mankind, Faith in a God, is the reassurance they need to convince themselves that we are not alone… there is someone watching over us, as we journey through this Life.
The child on the log had very little confidence in himself, especially when it came to water. His fear of the water prevented him from enjoying the activities of the other children, especially those activities that happened on the log. His desire to be included in the fun however, eventually overpowered his fears of the water, and so he put his trust in the log, believing it would keep him safe. As long as he stayed on top of the log, it did just that… but an unexpected slip brought him to the sudden realization that the log could do nothing to save him; he was completely on his own.
Holding on to the log prevented him from going into the water, but did nothing to overcome his fear of it… in fact; it made him all the more fearful. Losing strength, there was nothing else he could do except to face his fears, and when he did finally lower his feet into the water, he immediately became aware of his naivety. The log that he had thought was protecting him from danger, was in fact preventing him from gaining the confidence he needed to learn how to swim on his own.
Many people that I know of, place their Faith in a God; believing that they are not capable of living life on their own. Their fears of what they would be without him prevent them from discovering their true potential… the potential for being a great person and all on their own doing.
It was scary at first when I fully realized that there is no God. I clung to Jesus for my salvation… but there was nothing he could do, for without a God there could be no Son of God. I was on my own, as was he in his time of desperation when he cried out “My God, why have you forsaken me?” Fortunately for me however, I was not crucified. I was able to face my fears and come to the realization that I am capable of being a good person all on my own, because the Life that is within me is Good.
I am not interested in removing the crutches of those who are crippled, or taking away a blind man’s cane… but for those whose Faith is growing weak and who are barely holding on to the religion of their upbringing, I say… let go of your God and realize only the Life that is in you. For Life needs no worship… It needs only to be Lived!
Let us rejoice and be glad in each other!
Wayne Dale Matthysse