"Blessed are those who have not yet seen and yet believed." John 20:29
Do I believe in you one time, and that's it? Must I renew my belief each day? I confess I believe, and I do, but today I don't—at least I don't feel like I believe. Is that the same as not believing? Because I always return to you, eventually.
I want to live like I believe all the time. But some days everything I see, these trees, this sky, this grass, they all look void, though they remain unchanged since yesterday. Can you reach me here in this despondency?
Some days a simple physical meeting would do wonders. Can't you meet me here next to my bookcases and desk? Should we meet down on the deck before anyone rises, before the mayhem of the morning overtakes? Then I could walk through the day with a knowing grin—no one would know I saw you, just me. And the trees, sky and grass would regain their color.
Why isn't every day filled with the feeling of your presence, even though I know that it is? My belief only grows the more I seek you. But some days I grow weary of seeking. I want "all these things added unto me," but I'm tired of the pursuit. Can you wait for me?
I'm trapped in this place, this world where the cynic rules and ignorance guised in the sophistication of doubt makes belief unfashionable. And yet I recall the rules of belief. If I say I believe, then I must follow. I must trudge through this weak despondency—writing myself through it just to keep pace with you.
Bonhoeffer said, "Only he who believes is obedient; only he who is obedient believes." My obedience does not see the colorless sky and opaque trees. It only sees you. I obey even when I can't see and then find myself back in belief. Belief, that blind guide into eternity.
Help my belief today, Oh God. Strengthen my obedience.
Pardon the adjusted schedule this week. Join me tomorrow over at A Deeper Church for my monthly post.
Timothy Willard is the author of five books, including Longing For More: Daily Reflections on Finding God in the Rhythms of Life and the forthcoming The Life-Giving Adventure of Chasing Beauty (Eerdmans, 2019). He has collaborated on over 20 books and has written, consulted and served as spiritual director for organizations such as Chick-fil-A, Catalyst, Q Ideas and Praxis Labs. When he’s not riding the trails in the Appalachian mountains you can find him by the fire with his three daughters and his wife making up stories about Tom the back yard badger. He lives somewhere in the south Charlotte woods.