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Faith: A lesson from Kris Kringle

December 6, 2014

  
What is your idea of faith? Here’s one you may recognise.

“Faith is believing in things when common sense tells you not to”.

“Is it from the Bible?” you wonder. “It certainly seems familiar”.

No it is not from the Bible. It is a line which appears in a film that I have watched this evening -‘Miracle on 34th Street’.

The old black and white version of the film with Maureen O’Hara as Doris, the single mother who is determined that her daughter has no time for fairy tales and Santa Claus. This is by far my favourite version of the film. It’s more subtle than the recent version, with many parties having a vested interest in the final outcome – that Kris Kringle IS Santa Claus.

As the film unfolds of course, first the daughter and then the mother come to have faith in the kindly old man with the white beard and unique sales strategy.

Is he just a madman? At one point Fred Gaily (Strange that the names Doris and Mr Gaily were not used in the remake…) uses our definition of faith and of course we know that Doris has finally grasped it when she repeats it later on.

“Faith is believing in things when common sense tells you not to.”

Now I am a man of faith. I say that as a statement of fact, not as a boast. Because what I see all too often in myself is that I am a man full of doubts.

My conclusion is that faith and doubt are two sides of the same coin.

After all if doubt is not to be part of my experience living as a follower of Jesus, then why do I NEED faith? I could just follow like a robot.

So what about this idea of faith? The idea that to have faith, I need to discard common sense. To believe in the ridiculous. To just leave my home and set out for the Imagi-Nation. The Land of Make Believe.

That to me is not faith.

We could have all sorts of definitions of faith. But here’s two that might be helpful, both based on an acrostic:

Forget

Arguing

I

Trust

Him

Feeling

Afraid

I

Trust

Him

The first has the idea that we can argue about all sorts of finer points of faith and belief, the second that life can be scary. But the antidote to both those things is FAITH.

And faith is not blind. It is not wishful thinking. It is not intellectual suicide.

For faith is not based in my powers of imagination. It is based in a person. Both our definitions say that “I trust HIM”. I trust in Jesus, the Son of God.

I know many in this world do not agree but I have no difficulty looking at this world and believing that behind it is a creator. That such a creator is totally sovereign and can act in ways that are beyond our scientific minds. The parting of the red sea, the virgin birth, the resurrection from the dead.

I don’t suddenly become a fool. My faith is in a person. A person I can trust.

The Apostle Paul was of the same mind “I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until that day”.

Paul had committed his life to the service of God in the confidence that that act of faith would receive its reward in this world and the next. But his faith was not blind. It was not a faith in his own abilities, or his own positive thinking. He knew who he believed in. He knew that he could totally depend on the Son of God who was there at the beginning, the creator of all things, and the one who rose from the dead.

Faith is often lived out in the darkness of life. There is a sense in which it is believing when at times we cannot see. “Faith is about confidence about what we hope for and assurance of what we do not see.” (Hebrews 1:1) But faith is not an entity itself. It is faith in a person. The person. Jesus.

Trust Him

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From → Christianity

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