11 Now faith is the certainty of things hoped for, a proof of things not seen.
The world seems to be full of superheroes these days. From wolf to wonder and iron to ingenuity, there seems to be no shortage of characters going out into the world and using their gifts to save the day. Everywhere you look—heroes. I don’t recall there being so many when I was a kid, but that could be because I only had one that I paid attention to. I was in love with a fella named “Indiana.”
I know that this half professor, half archaeologist did not have superpowers then and does not fall into the superhero category even now. He didn’t do anything supernatural. His cleverness with words and charm lit up the screen as he went on unplanned adventures and ended up saving the day, all human-style. But it was this plain old human behavior that made me like him so much. I liked that he followed up his desire to do the right thing with action. That was what made him a hero to me.
Out of all the movies he was in, one scene has stayed with me. He had set out on a quest to find the Holy Grail before the bad guys could get it. At one point, he faced a series of challenges that were meant to determine if he was worthy to access this treasured cup. The moment that replays in my mind is of him standing at the edge of an endless cliff with nothing before him but a scary fall and an open door on the other side. The choice to be made? Step out in nothing but faith in the hopes there is a path waiting for you or doubt and plummet to the bottom. The only way forward was to walk a path he could not see.
I am unsure whether it was my fear of heights or my human doubt that burned this scene into my mind, but I held my breath every time I watched him prepare to make the choice. He had to decide to move forward into a situation where the outcome could not be predicted or stay where he was. He had to have a certainty of things hoped for. He sure hoped there was a path there for him when he took that step.
Spoiler alert: there was.
He took a step forward with his breath held and then let it go in an ultimate sigh of relief as he felt his foot standing upon the rock. Now he could see the path he was on that would take him through that open door. And as a bonus, he also stopped, turned around, and tossed pebbles along the path behind him so others could see it too. What a good guy. Just more proof you do not have to wear a cape to be a hero.
You may be wondering what this little story about my cinematic childhood hero has to do with you. Let me start with a question. Have you ever been standing at the doorway of that cliff? Did you turn back from an opportunity because you could not guarantee what would happen or did you step forward and feel your foot hit the solid ground on a path you could not see? Also, did you stop, turn around, and throw pebbles along the path so someone else could see their way?
You don’t have to have supernatural powers to do any of that. Just faith. Certainty of hope. You may not feel like you have much to offer because you don’t have a superhuman trait that can save the world. But that does not mean you are not a hero. If you pay close attention, everywhere you look can see heroes stepping out in nothing but faith. I see them all the time. One person helps another even if they never even say thank you. Someone is following that nudge in their spirit to change a career or leave it behind. A family trusts that God will provide for their needs when the checkbook says it is not possible. People every day step out in faith with no way to know for sure if the path will sustain them. Doing it all because they believe for certain they trust a God that brings hope to their future.
That is what we are asked to do. We have to decide to move forward into a situation where the outcome cannot be predicted or choose to stay where we are. But please know you are not alone in this choice. From Moses to Abraham and David to Daniel, people have been stepping onto a path they cannot see since the beginning of time with nothing but faith in a God who is bigger than the challenge they see before them.
And like my friend Indiana, we don’t have to be a superhero to do something brave. We just have to follow up our words with a desire to do the right thing. We just have to believe that when we take that step, there will be a path that leads us straight to God. We get opportunities to practice this every day. Opportunities to say yes and then do what we say or opportunities to give that result in someone else’s greater good. Oh! And those opportunities to turn around and throw some pebbles out there so the ones behind you can see the way. That one is my favorite.
That’s faith. Following that faith—following that desire to do the right thing with action—that sounds pretty heroic to me.