July 15, 2010

I believe... help my unbelief

The other night, I sat down to watch a film that has been in my Netflix queue for a while now:  King of California.  It's the story of a young woman and her mentally questionable father and his quest to find buried treasure beneath their suburban community.  It's quiet, a little quirky, but all and all a really good flick.

I think the thing that stuck with me long after the movie ended was the idea that you could follow along with someone - even if you weren't entirely sure you believed.  The character, Miranda, is about 90% sure that her father is full of crap, and yet she loves him and is interested in the possibility that he might be on to something.  She follows him all over the countryside.  She listens to his ramblings.  She does some reading and research of her own.  She gives up her job in order to get hired on with the Costco her dad thinks the treasure is buried beneath.  In spite of every instinct in her body that tells her he is absolutely crazy... she goes along with the plan.  She is there.  But she doesn't believe.

There are many days that I feel that way about my faith.  I know that God loves me.  And I want to love God with all of my heart, soul, mind and strength.  But I'm not always sure what on earth we are all doing.  I'm going along with the plan... seeing how things turn out... but there are absolutely doubts. I listen.  I read.  I would love to believe it all hook, line and sinker.  But there is too much of a scientific rationalist in my heart.  So I'm here.  I'm doing it.  I'm sticking it out.  But...   

There is that "but".  And I often worry about that "but." I worry that I'm not faithful enough.  I worry that the little "but" in the back of my mind is going to be my downfall.  I worry that maybe I am just going through the motions. 

King of California reminded me that it's okay to have questions.  Miranda was a faithful and loving daughter.  She would have done anything for her father.  She did the best that she could with what she had - and that included having questions, and doubts, and acting out in faith in spite of them. 

Maybe that's the key... acting in spite of our doubts.  Taking the leap of faith - even when it goes against every instinct in our bodies.  Deciding to follow - even if we are pretty sure that we have no idea where we are going.  Taking all of those doubts and carrying them with us and not ignoring them... but not letting them keep us from finding out the truth, either. 

There is a scene at the end - and I don't know that I'll ruin any of the plot if I say this - when something that Charlie (the dad) said actually came true.  Miranda is standing by the ocean at sunrise and a bunch of chinese men and women come running out of the ocean wearing only their underwear.  And she gets this look on her face - this look of curious wonder.  She saw for her own eyes the truth.  I pray that I might keep my eyes open and someday see for myself... see it all as it really is... and finally know.  Until then  I'm going to take my doubtful leap of faith and see what happens.


  1. I love the story your post title comes from. Mostly because I too often need to be reminded that it's okay to not be certain all of the time. Jesus at his best, of course, heals the boy after the father's confession of belief and unbelief. That's my kind of God.
    (I'm sure I could come up with a slightly more coherent/relevant/less or more something comment but apparently not right now. Suffice it to say: Me too.)

  2. Byrde - You know, I was totally going to do some more thinking/writing about the father's confession in this post and then I forgot about it =) Thanks for reminding me again...

    and sometimes "me too" is enough!

  3. Great little movie. Thanks for your thoughtfulness about it.