I drove down the motorway and overtook a lorry loaded with roof trusses, towering above my car. Just as I passed, the thought hit: I have a lot of faith to do what I’m doing here.
So as I drove on down the motorway, I thought just how many people and things I was trusting to drive past a lorry load which could have killed us.
I was trusting people:
- The lorry driver, to drive safely (the picture above shows this is NOT always a good assumption :)).
- The person(s) who loaded the trusses on the lorry and secured it with cables.
- The cable manufacturer.
- The manufacturer of every part in the lorry’s steering system.
- The people who service that steering system.
- The owner of the lorry (to send it for servicing often enough to be sure it is safe).
- Those who maintain the roads so there was no massive hole to tip the lorry onto us.
- The manufacturer of my car’s steering system.
- Those who have maintained my car.
I was trusting other things:
- Multiple laws of physics related to gravity, inertia, transmission of light (we wouldn’t be suddenly blinded by direct rays of the sun), etc.
- Principles of weather (we would not suddenly be blinded by fog or rain on a sunny day).
- No earthquake would throw our vehicles against each other as we passed.
- No deer would jump in front of the lorry, causing the driver to swerve into us.
I’m sure there are more. And some things in which we trust, even trusting our lives to them, are not proven. That the trusses were still on the lorry proved they had been placed to not fall off immediately, but did not prove they were completely secure. I didn’t know who put them there, who maintained the truck, etc. I just knew it was going down the motorway and, for the moment, staying in its lane and not shedding huge roof trusses on passing cars.
I couldn’t prove the steering would not fail as I went past. Perhaps the driver would mistake me for someone he hated and swerve into me — I couldn’t absolutely know he wouldn’t. Might the weather do something completely bizarre? There was no way to guarantee there would be no earthquake. Deer do jump in front of cars and lorries, and drivers do swerve when it happens, and we were in an area where there are deer.
Despite all those “leaps of faith” I overtook the lorry. In fact, I went right next to it, even though I could have moved over another lane. Despite lack of proof, there was sufficient evidence to trust that it was safe.
The trusses held. The steering worked. Drivers may drive into low bridges, but this one did not drive into me. Any earthquake was small enough to go unnoticed. We had rain further down the road, but clouds warned of its coming. We survived my leap of faith. 🙂
Everyday life is filled with faith! We flip a switch, trusting the light to come on, trusting that the electricians and switch manufacturer have not done something to cause us to be electrocuted (or burn the building down). Do we have evidence it is safe? Yes, but there have been electrical fires and switches have been improperly installed.
We buy food at shops, trusting the label to be accurate. We believe tinned tomatoes don’t contain arsenic, that minced beef is not minced horse (oops!), that manufacturers and growers and purchasers and inspectors have all actually done their job correctly.
We pay our electric bill, trusting that someone made and installed the meter properly. We cook with gas, trusting the cooker installer to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. We step on the brake pedal, trusting the car manufacturer. We put money in the bank, trusting the bank (scary thought) to not lose it or trusting politicians (scarier thought) to make it good if the bank does lose it.
In many things, we trust with little real evidence at all. How do you KNOW your electric meter is even close to accurate? Have you checked the gas connections on your cooker, and do you know enough to know it is installed right? How many of us have asked about the food inspection regime enough to have any confidence it is working? Have you looked at your bank’s financial statements to see if it is about to fold? If you have, how do you know they aren’t simply a schoolboy exercise in creative writing?
We simply live in faith that these things are ok, trusting others. They obviously know more about it than we do, the inspectors and auditors and technicians, so we trust what they say.
Those who recorded Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection knew more about it than we do. They wrote eyewitness accounts, and were so sure that they were willing to be martyrs for the cause. People will die for a cause in which they believe, but few die for one they know to be a lie. These men, who knew Jesus before He died and after His resurrection, wrote in a time when many other eyewitnesses could verify or refute their accounts. They wrote believing, lived believing, and died believing — and many other eyewitnesses believed, too.
We’ll trust mechanics, technicians, food inspectors, etc. We have faith in them without even thinking about it. But all we do is trust what someone says, even staking our lives on it, without asking if they would stake their own lives on it. The New Testament writers not only said they were willing to stake their lives on it, they backed it with action.
Never let anyone tell you faith is impossible, is too hard. We all practice faith all the time, and it isn’t hard at all. The problem is not that faith is difficult, but that people do not diligently seek God in His Word. He rewards those who do — they find the One they seek.
But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him;
Will they find absolute proof? No, nor did I have absolute proof that lorry was safe to overtake. I had ample evidence to believe it was safe, and so it was.
God gives ample evidence for us to know we can trust Him. In both cases, the evidence supports a response of faith. The difference? God ALWAYS knows the road ahead. We can generally trust a lorry driver to be safe, but not always. But when we place our faith in God, we don’t have to worry about Him crashing into a bridge.
Related: Everybody Believes SOMETHING