In a recent post to his blog – Jack’s Winning Words – Jack used this interesting quote – “Cellist Pablo Casals was asked why he continued to practice at age 90. ‘Because I think I am making progress,’ he replied.” (Seattle Opera post). Jack went on to write about his grandmother who was still reading her Bible at age 92, even though she needed a magnifying glass to do so. She was still learning about God and Jesus and making progress in her relationship with God.
Life is a journey of discovery during which we accumulate knowledge (which one hopes eventually turns into wisdom) and we form relationships. In almost all fields of knowledge, we eventually reach the end of human understanding of that topic and conclude that only God knows the rest of the story. It is at those intersections that we begin to hunger for more knowledge about this God, who apparently is the source of all things. We desire a relationship with Him and look for some guidance on how to meet Him and form that relationship. That guidance is contained in the Bible. Fortunately, for us, the Bible tells us that we have also been given a guide. Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6).
One of the great dichotomies of life’s journey rages between the concepts of faith on the one hand and our own ego on the other. Faith demands that we let go of the quest for understanding and just believe; yet, our egos pull us in the direction of continuing to try to understand everything. We are driven by our egos to try to dissect things down into smaller and more elemental pieces that we can “wrap our brains around.” Faith says, “Let it go and just believe” while our ego says, “there must be a way for me to understand this.”
At the root of that problem is our human tendency to see things and try to understand them only within the context of the physical world that we already understand. We express this ego-restricted view of the world in our religious art, which always depicts God in our own image. We have a hard time conceiving of something that we cannot depict in a material way.
The leap of faith from relating to the things we can see and touch to accepting a God that we can neither see nor touch is the last chasm that separates us from Him. Jesus came to earth to provide a bridge so that we can make that we can jump that chasm in our “leap of faith”. Jesus beacons us to jump and trust that He will catch us and take us the rest of the way.
So, why keep reading the Bible after years of doing so? Why keep going to church every week, after years of doing so? Why keep praying to a God that we cannot see or touch, after years of doing so? Why do we continue this never-ending journey to meet our God? Maybe it is that little bit of faith that we have already achieved that is providing us the hope that Pablo Casals expressed, “Because I think I am making progress.” It is a journey that I realize that I will not finish on this earth; but, I hope that I get enough done here to be able to continue the journey in Heaven.
Are you making progress, too?