Three Years ago, I KNEW that God existed. Today, it’s a beautiful hope. No longer do I KNOW with certainty. Fortunately, I have some backup from the Apostle Paul who said, “Whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.”
He followed that up with, “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” Over the past few years, I have been in the process of putting away childish things. And embracing that which Paul said will abide, rather than vanish away.
Paul’s three great & enduring virtues are faith, hope, and charity. Here’s my current interpretation:
I have placed my faith in the teachings and example of Jesus Christ. I don’t KNOW if Jesus is real. But, I do KNOW that the teachings and example ascribed to him are the “way, the truth, and the life.” In other words, it is true that they provide a way to live a good, productive and fulfilling life. The very kind of life to which I aspire.
When I speak of faith in the religious sense, I only place it in Jesus Christ. I have 64 years of experience to KNOW that His teachings and example contain the truth for how to conduct my life.
I hope that Jesus is real in every aspect.
I hope there is a God.
I hope that there is a life after this.
I hope to be with my family and other loved ones in the next life.
Regardless of whether or not the things I hope for are real, I will pursue what I KNOW to be true…the teachings and example of Jesus.
According to Paul, this is the greatest of the three abiding virtues.
I am working towards having charity for ALL. Perhaps it’s the greatest virtue because it requires the most conscious effort. It may be easy for others…good for you. For me, I learn to love one group and then I realize I’ve started to love another group less. It’s a work in progress.
Charity never faileth. Often mine does. When it doesn’t, I witness marvelous and majestic things happen.
Why I am I writing this today? A video.
For my family and most of my friends, the concept of not KNOWING that God exists is startling, weird, and frequently off-putting. I had similar reactions…to myself, as I felt my knowledge “vanish away.”
But, something beautiful has now happened on two occasions. These occurences would have been impossible if I had not stumbled into Paul’s footsteps. These two transcendent experiences would not have occurred if my knowledge had not vanished. If I had not put away my childish things.
A couple of months ago, my wife and I saw the movie ‘Dr. Strange.’ One of the main characters had lived for centuries. A pivotal scene arrived where she was about to finally leave her earthly existence. It was poignant. Tears came. Then the thought, “How beautiful is the idea that there is a God.” More tears.
Today, a son-in-law shared a video. It was a compilation of family events from the past few months. The center piece being the birth of their third child. As I watched, tears flowed. Then the thought, “How beautiful is the idea that there is a God.” More tears.
All my life, I have taken for granted the existence of God. My former KNOWLEDGE was a gorgeous childlike belief. But never once had I experienced the overwhelming awe and wonder of the thrilling possibility that there is a God. Now that my knowledge has vanished…Now that I have put away childish things…Now that I’ve become a man…It really is breathtaking to experience the abiding virtue of hope. Time & time again.