We’re familiar with the story. An American teenager, Peter Parker, a poor sickly orphan, is bitten by a radioactive spider. As a result of the bite, he gains superhuman strength, speed, and agility, along with the ability to cling to walls, turning him into Spider-Man. To atone for being too late to save his uncle, he goes on a rescue mission whenever he hears of someone in distress. His story is that of a superhero, putting all his superpowers to use in a campaign of loyalty and justice. As a friend once told me indignantly when I expressed ever so slight skepticism about the merits of watching this genre: “Oh, suspend your disbelief!” I guess, once that ‘suspension’ is achieved, one can joyfully, and fully, participate in this high-stakes fantasy drama played out on the screen (I’m still working on it).

In some sense, our life of faith is like that, too. We clear away enough mental debris and our inbred rugged individualism (think: I’ll do it myself!) to see Jesus for who he is, our Savior, without whose sacrifice we would be forever lost. There are reports of spectacular fireworks displays with laughing and tears and shouting when ‘conversion’ takes place. The vast majority (of examples I’ve heard, as well as my own) are quiet, with no outward hoopla or earth-shakings. It’s here that we take the experience ‘on faith.’ Incredulous as it seems, we believe God has chosen us and called us to be His Beloved. Further, we trust that the promised Holy Spirit now indwells us (despite there being no physical manifestations).  We walk with confidence, pray with vigorous hope, devour God’s Word, worship with all the faculties we possess. All this by faith, believing what we have heard. And this is what we have heard:

“Now listen, brothers and sisters, this present body is not able to inherit the kingdom of God any more than decay ican inherit that which lasts forever. Stay close because I am going to tell you a mystery – something you may have trouble understanding. . . All of us will be changed! We’ll step out of our mortal clothes and slide into immortal bodies, replacing everything that is subject to death with eternal life. And when we are all re-dressed with bodies that do not, cannot decay, when we put immortality over our mortal frames, then it will be as Scripture says: ‘Life everlasting has victoriously swallowed death. Hey, Death! What happened to your big win? Hey, Death! What happened to your sting?’” 1 Corinthians 15: 50, 51a, 52-55, VOICE.

This, too, we believe, not because we can see this truth or touch this truth, but because the Holy Spirit inspired Paul to write this to the church at Corinth and it has been preserved for us these past two millennia. If reading these words feels like science fiction, or mere fantasy, I just have this to say: ‘Oh, suspend your disbelief!’  PD

Share This