When I was about four years old, my mother and I were shopping at a grocery store. I spotted a box of cereal that had a tempting offer splashed across the front. There was a ticket inside each box and some were “winners”. Those who found a “winner” ticket inside the box would receive a new basketball. I wanted a basketball.
So I asked my mom to get the cereal. I explained to her that I was going to win a basketball. And like any mother would, she tried to explain to me that it was highly unlikely that I would actually win a basketball. Most people would not win. They were just trying to get you to buy the cereal.
But I was persistent. And in the end, she bought the box of cereal. Probably to teach me not to fall for slick advertising. However, that plan didn’t work out for her so well when I reached down deep into the box and pulled out a “winner” ticket. I had won a basketball.
The bible tells us that faith is the evidence of things not seen. There may not have been anything particularly spiritual for me about a winning ticket in a box of cereal. However, there have been many times when I have needed to make a decision about where I place my trust. Is it in what I believe but cannot see? Or is it in what I can see but do not believe? The decision is often much more tricky for me than it should be.
God asks us to step out in faith before we understand why. He asks us to trust that He is at work when we can’t see Him. He calls us to follow Him when we don’t know where He is going. What will we do?
The practical and safe thing is to trust in ourselves. To make decisions based on what we see and what we know. But for Jesus followers, we sometimes have to make the crazy choice to trust Him even when it confuses us.
Growing up, I was one of the least athletic kids you would ever meet. I barely knew what to do with a basketball. But it was one of my favorite possessions. It represented something important to me. I had believed in the possibility that good would come. I convinced my mom to take a chance. And good had come.
Our faith issues are much bigger than cereal box giveaways. But this experience was significant enough to our family that the story is still occasionally retold. I think it’s because I believed that something unlikely could happen. And when it actually did happen, everyone stood in amazement. That’s what Jesus wants to do in our lives. The unlikely. The amazing. Peace!