I went to see the movie, Son of God tonight with a friend. It was well done and interesting. But what struck me most was this feeling of something missing. I struggled all through the movie to figure out what it was.
The best way I can describe it is this: faith is not simply about what you have seen or heard or felt or touched. It is more mysterious than that. It is intangible, ethereal. Something inside of you that moves you to believe: what we mean when we talk about the heart or the spirit or the soul.
No matter how high the production values in a movie, the producers and the director cannot manufacture that thing that moves inside you. That thing that whispers, “Jesus is here. He is real. And it all happened, just as God planned it.”
I felt that thing daily in Israel. As we stood in the places where it all happened. I feel that thing on Tuesday mornings as I help to lead a Bible Study, and I listen to the discussions that the various groups are having about that morning’s subject. I feel that thing when I listen to my colleagues preach, and often when I am in the midst of preaching myself. I felt that thing on a treadmill in a gym in Toronto more than a decade ago, and it lead me to seminary and then ordination.
That thing is what makes the crazy story of God’s love for humanity real and personal and unshakeable. That thing is what drives my life, and what I seek to encourage in others.
I hope that during Lent, you will feel that mysterious, intangible, ethereal thing we call faith drawing you onward toward the celebration of Easter. I hope that it will draw you closer to God and give you the strength to face whatever life brings your way. I hope it will begin to transform and change you, so that you grow to be more like Jesus. And I hope all of that for me, as well.
Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.
Hebrews 11:1 NIV