I struggle with believing and having faith in a Higher Power. I know that may be surprising – I’m a clergy person. Aren’t I supposed to have faith? Aren’t I supposed to believe in God and it should never waver? Thankfully, I have a congregation that gives me the space to question my belief in God. Because no, it’s not easy for me to have faith and believe on any given day.
I turned to my spiritual advisor, who informed me that God helps us be okay no matter what happens. Our job is to strive not only to believe, but also to then have faith in that power.
But there is a difference between belief and faith. Belief means, I believe there is a God. Faith means that I am willing to depend on that power, to help me through a situation.
Then my spiritual advisor said, “You are an agnostic.” I recoiled – “Me? An agnostic? But I am an ordained minister – certainly I’m not an agnostic!” (An agnostic by the way, doesn’t dispute that there is a God, but isn’t sure if it can actually intervene in our lives.).
So, there I was, called out by my spiritual advisor – not sure what to believe about God and about faith. He assured me that I was more okay than not. He taught me that struggling with belief and faith is normal, and that struggling with the concept of God is actually good for my soul.
There’s the story of Charles Blondin, an tightrope walker who in 1859, strung a tightrope across Niagara Falls. It seemed that Charles Blondin was quite a showman. He liked to go up and perform for the crowds that would gather underneath him. Supposedly he would walk across the rope from New York to Canada. He walked across in a potato sack, once he crossed using stilts. Once, he even brought up an oven and cooked an egg on the tightrope. Crowds loved him and his antics and would reward him with their applause and awe.
On this particular day, Charles Blondin took a wheel barrow up the tightrope and started pushing it across. As the crowds below ooohed and aaaahed, he called out for a volunteer. He asked the volunteer if he believed that Charles could safely get across the tightrope with the wheelbarrow. The volunteer agreed he could do so. Then Charles asked the volunteer to get inside the wheel barrow, while he pushed it across.
That is what we are being asked to do: To not only to just believe – but also to have faith. And to show that faith, we have to be willing to get inside the wheel barrow.