Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.Hebrews 11:1
This morning I have found myself wrestling with my tendency to, well, wrestle with things! It’s a posture I have had all my life. Sometimes I worry that it means I am fickle, other times I am more inclined to see myself as thoughtful and open spirited.
But then I think about the ironclad, immovable, set in stone positions some people take about so many things in life, and I feel better about my tendency toward uncertainty!
I teeter, sometimes, on the brink of unbelief. At other moments I know assurance with such clarity that I cannot imagine ever doubting.
Today I am not so much wondering about particular articles of faith, or my position on some social issue as I am wondering about wondering, and certainty, and the constant journey we must engage if we are to arrive anywhere at all.
A Man Called Otto:
Part of this, I believe, comes out of watching the Tom Hanks movie, “A Man Called Otto,” Monday evening.
“Otto” is the story of a man who knows things with absolute certainty. He is an engineer and he knows how to fix things. He knows rules and regulations. He knows that most other people are “idiots.” He knows his own routines. He knows that he is right and other people are misinformed. And he knows with conviction that, at sixty-something years of age, his life is meaningless: he has no family, his wife has died, he has no friends, and he has been elbowed out of his job with a cheap cake, a few cheap platitudes, and a “generous settlement package.”
Then a series of small events create a chink in Otto’s armor of certainly and – as he meticulously plans to end his life and successively fails – he begins to realize that it is possible to change.
What happens is that a new family move in across the street and Otto’s conviction that he is alone in this world is challenged by people who simply refuse to be rejected.
The breakthrough comes not when Otto realizes that he needs them but when Otto begins to understand that they need him.
This is important because our true humanity, our true spirituality, is released not so much in response to our own need but the need of the world around us.
We are lost when we believe it is all about us. We are saved when we realize that it is all about our neighbor.
And this brings me back to where I started. I wrestle. I wrestle with faith and with belief and with certainty and with social issues exactly because this wide and beautiful world is not all about me.
The more we open ourselves to that truth then – like Otto – the less rigid and more grace filled our hearts become.