I was out on a morning walk the other day when a young girl caught my attention. She skipped to the end of the sidewalk and then paused briefly before doing a little happy dance. As I looked down the block, I saw some other kids with backpacks lightly resting on their shoulders. I realized it was the first day of school. I continued on and could not help but slow down as I saw a little boy standing by his front door with a big smile on his face as his parents took a picture. It looked like his first day of kindergarten. You could tell, even from a distance, that he has happy and ready to go!
I wonder what his parents were thinking as they prepared to send him off? Maybe they were as happy and ready as he was. Maybe a little concern bubbled up at the thought of sending him off. Einstein understood this. He believed that one of the most important questions we have to deal with is whether or not the universe is friendly.
Do you see the world as a friendly, safe place to be?
We all have to decide how we are going to understand the world and our place in it. All kinds of things will happen to us and around us throughout the course of a day. We have to decide what we will do with them all and how we will understand them.
I think the world can begin to feel unfriendly when we are uncertain, hurt, or overwhelmed. Without clarity or trust, fear is more likely to prevail than faith. I have been thinking about faith recently. One of my favorite teachers, Dallas Willard, said, “Faith is relying on something as if it were so.” He says when you have faith, you are prepared without thinking to act as if it were so.
To get a better sense of what this means, consider what happens when you float on the water. If you want to float, all you need to do is let go and allow the water to carry you. You float as you put your full weight on the water and trust that it will hold you.
At first glance, floating is not fancy or fast. I have never heard of a floating competition or had anyone ask me to go over to the pool and float around for a while but maybe we should. Maybe if we spent some time floating it would remind us to practice letting go of control in other areas of our life. Maybe it could help us remember how important it is to have faith: to rely on something or someone to keep us afloat.
When John, a disciple of Jesus, was an old man he wrote a letter to encourage people who were trying to live a life of faith. In his first few sentence he writes, “This is the message we heard from Jesus” It must have been hard to try to synthesize all he had heard and learned from Jesus. Here he tells us, “This is the message we heard from him and now declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.” (IJn1:5)
The best way to stay afloat and trust that the world can be a friendly place is to live a life of faith in God and the way we do it is to rely on this: God is good. Please, never believe anything bad about God. In Him, there is no darkness at all! You can put your faith in God. You can trust him to be with you. He is the one who made all things and holds all things together. There is nothing too hard for God. If we put our trust in God, if we let go and put all our weight and the weight of any burden we are carrying on him, He will hold us. He will not let us go. We can rest in him.
“The universe is a perfectly safe place for us to be.” Dallas Willard