“Make every effort to add to your faith …”
(2 Peter 1:5)
Thinking about a vision for life is not thinking about just any life. It is thinking about our life. And in thinking about our life, one has to admit it is pretty spectacular we are here in the first place. Scientist — and I haven’t a clue who came up with these odds — say that the chances of our being born are not just one in a million but more like one in four hundred trillion. I don’t know about you, but it is hard for me to get my head around a trillion, much less four hundred trillion. My point being that the odds were stacked against us being born in the first place.
Here is another statistic I do understand. We have no chance of getting out of this world alive. The odds are 1:1 we won’t make it. Realize this: our biological, physical, mortal, human life has limits. There is another life, however. It has to do with our life with God. Such a life is never ending. It is an infinite, eternal, immortal, unlimited life. Life with God was referred to as zoe life by the Greek philosophers, and not simply a bios life or human life. There is a big difference. In fact, it is all the difference in the world.
With that said, as a “little” preamble, consider our life being less wrapped up as a human being in search of something a bit spiritual and more realistically (that is, really or for real) created as spiritual beings who are trying to figure out what in the world it means to be human. And God the Creator gives us “the way, the truth and the life” in discerning what it means to be human. This is where Jesus and the kingdom of God literally come into the picture.
Life over death is revealed to us in the person of Jesus Christ, God’s only eternal, begotten Son. Sometimes, it is difficult to get our minds around Jesus helping us figure out our life in the twenty-first century —especially for those of us who are self-made, self-motivated, self-actualized, and perhaps, just a wee-bit self-centered. Picturing Jesus is, of course, a way of thinking about having a vision. Ideas, images and thoughts are ways visions for our life with God begin to take shape.
Think about faith. Some will say to me, “Faith is a crutch.” I say to them, “You are right! And so, too, is oxygen.” My faith helps me breathe. My faith keeps me alive. Without faith, I would be a goner. I rely on faith with every breath I take. Get it? Faith is just that important to our lives as spiritual beings who have an eternal destiny in God’s kingdom. Faith is the foundation on which we stand and grow in our spiritual lives. Faith is the name of the game. Faith keeps us going. Faith helps us play for real. Our spiritual lives begin with a vision that is based on faith. So how do we get faith in Jesus?
For a moment, let the painting by French Artist Eug̀ene Delacroix catch your attention. It is a painting of Peter trying to walk on water. Peter looks like a blob in the painting. Well, the fact is when we are going under, when we are down for the count, when we are falling and sinking into the dark and the unknown, there is not a whole lot to our identity either. And that is the point. For those familiar with the story of Peter attempting to walk on water, you know as he is drowning, Peter cries out, “Lord, save me!” (Matthew 14:30). Now, surely that is a verse anyone can memorize. Faith begins with a Savior.
Like the miracle of creation (remember your chances of being here are one in four hundred trillion), the story of salvation is a miracle. Being saved, being rescued, holding on to a power that is greater than ourselves is amazing — as in amazing grace. Salvation leads us into trust. And trust in the firm hand of Jesus being held out to us is what faith is all about.
One final thought … When Peter climbed back into the boat, he was not a soggy lump. He was a changed man. Recall when he went under water, he died for just a moment to his human nature, to his self-made, self-motivated, self-actualized and perhaps just a wee-bit self-centered way of life. As he was lifted up and saved by the firm grasp of Jesus, he was aware that the winds had ceased, the waves were calm, and he now had someone to believe in, someone to trust with a faith in Jesus who gave him a vision to live a life like never before.
For further reflection see, May You Live in Christ: Spiritual Growth Through the Vision of St. Peter.
Image Credit: Christ Walking on Water and Reaching Out His Hand to Save Saint Peter, c. 19th by Ferdinand Victor Eug̀ene Delacroix (1798-1863). Private collection. The Bridgeman Art Library.