“Here, I’ll hold the football and you run up and kick it.”
“Okay here I go,” a small boy starts running, and as he is about to kick the football, it’s pulled right before he’s able to kick it. He’s flung into the air, and a loud scream pierces the air. “AUGGHHH!” Yelled the boy as he lands on his back in disbelief.
If you haven’t figured this out, then you haven’t read or watched the Peanuts.
I recently relived my childhood and watched the Peanuts Movie that came out last year. However, this time around, after so many years, what dawned on me is that I laughed all the way through the movies at every moment that Charlie Brown fails at life. From flying a kite, to kicking a football, to playing baseball, he keeps failing and often goes to Lucy for his daily advice for life’s problems. I can identify with Charlie Brown’s character during days, months, sometimes years of walking in the unknown, not knowing where God is going to take me.
This past semester was full of transition in New York City. It was a semester of many kites eaten by trees and many football kicks that were missed. At the same time, we kept going on our journey of faith and pushed on even, though there were moments where we doubted. We wouldn’t have continued on this journey and stepped into a place of uncertainty.
As the church around the world celebrated Easter two weeks ago, I am reminded of the person of Thomas. He was one of Jesus’ disciples and the one who, after all that happened to Jesus (being crucify, buried and rising from the grave), didn’t believe. He had doubts about where to go, yet he continued to push forward with his faith, broke bread and ate with the other disciples despite his lack of faith.
Thomas surrounded himself with the other disciples who saw the Lord, and his faith was covered with uncertainty. It wasn’t until the risen Lord Jesus appeared and asked Thomas to touch his side and hands that were pierced that Thomas’ life was changed. We’re allowed to doubt in our faith, but have to continue and engage in the uncertainty; we have to be persistent and united with our brothers and sisters.
In Screwtape Letters, C.S Lewis says, “Do not be deceived, Wormwood. Our cause is never more in danger than when a human, no longer desiring, but still intending, to do our Enemy’s will, looks round upon a universe from which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys.” The enemy wants us to wander and walk away. He wants us to not show up. However, when we feel forsaken in our campus ministry, we must hold on to our faith.
As President Barack Obama put it this way:
“The ultimate irony of faith is that it necessarily admits doubt. It’s the belief in things not seen. It’s beyond our capacity as human beings to know with certainty what God has planned for us or what He asks of us. And those of us who believe must trust that His wisdom is greater than our own.
This doubt should not push us away our faith. But it should humble us. It should temper our passions; cause us to be wary of too much self-righteousness. It should compel us to remain open and curious … this doubt should remind us even as we cling to our faith to persuade through reason, through an appeal whenever we can to universal rather than parochial principles, and most of all through an abiding example of good works and charity and kindness and service that moves hearts and minds.”
I was reminded of all of this through the challenges and the obstacles of the season of ministry I’m in, and through moments of grief when I hear about bombings and attacks that have continually taken place across the world lately.
We must continue to minister, proclaim and walk with uncertainty but assurance. As Arnold Toynbee put it, “And now, as we stand and gaze with our eyes fixed upon the farther shore, a single figure rises from the flood and straightway fills the whole horizon.”
Anthony Deng is the New York City Campus Coordinator for Campus Renewal. He leads and coordinates volunteers for events such as One Cry and helps facilitate the student core team. Anthony was born and raised in New York City, graduated from City College of New York, and has a B.A in History and Asian Studies. Anthony gives New York City tours to freshmen of various campuses, showing students various hidden gems. In addition, he loves to play and watch basketball and football and is an avid fan of the Pacers and Colts.