I Still Believe
The greatest weapon in evil’s arsenal against the advance of the good, the holy and the true is to make us believe that the achievement of the same is impossible. People feel stupid for believing and embarrassed to try what is deemed impossible by others. The desire for world peace, a noble and needed ideal, is often associated with the stereotypical air-headed answer given in beauty pageants, suggesting that it is not only impossible, but silly, ridiculous or stupid as well.
How fashionable has it become to put down belief; and yet, how utterly inane! Nevertheless, what is it that tempts us to seek out the most noble and highest ideals to hold up to the ridicule of cynicism, if it is not the powerful attraction of the ideal itself? Behind many a profound cynic is a true believer either afraid of or harboring a disappointment so deep or disillusionment so heavy that their fragile spirituality renders hope a burden too heavy to bear. Cynicism is the safe harbor of great ships too fearful to sail. The depth of expressed cynicism is often directly proportional to the potential dimensions of a hidden faith.
When the last presidential campaign began, very early on, I shared with some of my church members at the time my commitment and my hope for an Obama win. I was immediately ridiculed and it continued for a long time after. I was told that I was too radical. It was foolish and a black president simply wasn’t possible. To which I responded, “People didn’t think black swans were possible either until they went to Australia and saw one.” (This reference was taken from a book I was reading at the time of precisely that title, The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable, by Nassim Taleb.) A great many others shared their view until suddenly it seemed possible; hope broke like a brand new day and lit the path to success. When belief reached critical mass, it suddenly became like an idea whose time had come. Nothing could stand in its way and everything worked toward its progress. Had people not believed it possible, however worthy the idea, there would never have been enough collective effort to make it happen, or the available optimism to sustain the movement when things seemed bleak and daunting. People must believe.
In the affairs of men and nations is it not belief, common, shared and collective, that determines the very viability of a project, aim or goal? Is it not our shared desire that determines whether a notion, idea or ideal shall carry the day? Is it not then belief, precisely, that makes it so? Jesus says, “All things are possible to them that believe.” And when there are enough of them, it shall be so.
A Friend of the Crucified,
Rev. Dr. Matthew V. Johnson, National Director of Every Church A Peace Church
Pastor, The Church of the Good Shepherd-Baptist