Sometimes, I think we believe in God the same way we don't believe in ghosts.
Be honest. Every time you're in a spooky situation with a group of your friends (or later, when you're telling the story), there's always someone who says, "I don't believe in ghosts." And no matter who says it or how many times they've said it or how bravely or confidently they say it, whoever utters those five words inevitably looks a little edgy for a second, looking around with one eye open to the possibility, their body language asking that one simple question:
I mean, I don't believe in ghosts. ...unless there happens to be one here. And then your mind starts to play tricks on you and every little thing becomes the evidence that maybe you're wrong. Maybe there is such a thing as ghosts. All of these innocuous things that in any other moment, you'd attribute rightfully to the mundane become suddenly suspicious, as if you just don't know any more. The house settles. Did you hear that creak? The wind shifts. Can you smell the cigarette smoke? You kind of get a little chill. Is there something out there?
It's kind of the way we profess our faith in God, too. It's kind of the way we dare to say He's out there. Something goes bump in the night, and we're looking for an answer, and what we come up with is that there is a God, and He is good. But we say that with merely one eye open.
Waiting to see if God will show up. Waiting to see what He's going to do. Waiting to make sure that "Yes, there is a God" is the right answer to the present situation.
When we say there is a God with but one eye open to the possibility, what we are making is not a statement of belief; it is a question of faith.
Then our minds start to play tricks on us and every little thing becomes the evidence that maybe you're right. Of course there is a God. All of these innocuous things that in any other moment, you'd attribute rightfully to the mundane become suddenly supernatural, evidence of the God you think you might believe in. Life settles. Are you on a streak? The wind whispers. Can you hear His voice? You kind of get a little chill. Is God really out there?
But this isn't faith. This is our hesitation to move and our willingness to passively resign ourselves to a God, which is nothing more than our idea of the possibility of a God. It is our declaring that He is, and then waiting on Him to prove Himself and make the first move before we follow.
Worse yet, this does not give us an accurate understanding of God. Just as lore has convinced us that the ghosts are in the noises, the creaks, the rattling chains, the squeaking doors, the invisible smoke, so too does our question of faith convince us that God is in the innocuous things, the mundane, the things that would likely have happened anyway but seem somehow holy because with one eye open, we were looking for Him.
I'm not saying God is not in the mundane. He is. It's just that if we are a people who truly believe in God, we wouldn't be able to say so with just one eye open. We wouldn't be harboring the question. We wouldn't be waiting on Him to answer our lingering question: Of course there is a God. ..."Right?"
If we were a people who truly believed in God, we would say so with eyes wide open, knowing that whatever He is doing could never be mistaken for the mundane. When we believe in God, we believe in His power and His glory. We believe in His mercy and His love. We believe in His goodness and His grace. And these are not the quiet things we might mistake for something else. These are the radical realities of faith.
Faith is knowing. Faith is confidently trusting not only that there is a God, but that our God is who He says He is. If He is who He says He is, then we ought to be a bold people, stepping out and takings risks, not settling for the quiet, mundane life that we can somehow wrap around Him.
We ought to be a people who wrap our God around us. Now that's a statement of faith.
By that faith, we are able to confidently say, "Of course there is a God!"