I Don't Know How Much I Know, But I Know How Much I Believe
I love movies. I’m one of those people that can get some kind of entertainment value out of just about any movie – no matter how bad it may be. I’m not sure exactly why, but whenever any of the Matrix movies are on television, I stop changing the channels and watch. If you’ve seen the movies you know what I’m talking about, but if not, they’re a trilogy of movies that came out from 1999 – 2003. They have some loosely Christian-based themes throughout all the action, violence, and awesome CGI. The main character is played by Keanu Reeves and he sacrifices himself to save humankind. At the end of the third installment, there is a prophet-character named Oracle that sits on a park bench looking at a beautiful sunrise, signifying a new beginning. She wears a content smile knowing what Neo (Reeves’ character) has done for everyone. One of her assistants comes up to her and says “Did you always know” that everything was going to be ok? She looks up at him and says “Oh no, I didn’t know … but I believed.”
Man, I love that line. I sometimes wish I was one of those people that saw things in black and white. I have so many shades of gray in my mind that Crayola doesn’t have a name for them all. I have so many questions that I don’t have answers for – particularly when it comes to the issues that can divide people. Many times I pray for wisdom and guidance on these tough topics, but I never seem to get a final answer that tells me this is “right”. I’ve told people before that once I get past the top ten items carved in the stone tablets, there are lots of things that I just don’t know. In fact, people that seem to know their way of thinking is absolutely right - and all other viewpoints are wrong – make me nervous. I don’t know who to give credit for this, but years ago I read or heard someone say that the opposite of faith is not doubt, it is certainty. Let that sink in a little. I don’t think that means that we shouldn’t be certain about basic right and wrong. Maybe it has more to do with how we sometimes think we know exactly how God works.
I have a friend that I love and respect, but we have different views on some aspects of our understanding of God. I think we honestly try to see things from each other’s point of view, and have even changed our minds on some issues, but most of the time our discussions reinforce our original positions. It seems like this type of engagement with differing views is becoming less and less common today. Take any complicated religious, political, social, or economic issue today and people seem to hunker down more, surrounded by only those viewpoints that line up with their own. We bemoan the lack of “coming together”, yet we so often lack empathy when dealing with others. I refer back to understanding God. This may be easy for some people, but it’s very difficult for me. I have so many questions I would like answered.
There are so many things I wish I just knew. I do know I don’t have the time or inclination to profess to comprehend exactly how God works. I often pray for God to help me understand that I’m not supposed to understand everything. Like the Oracle, I don’t know how much I know, but I know how much I believe.