The icons of faith might seem bullet proof, possessing lives fully assured of divine realities, but there is plenty of evidence to say otherwise. The Bible records some of its most principal characters in thoroughly unflattering ways. David, a celebrated Old Testament person, committed murder and adultery. From the standpoint of his personal reality radar, during those deeds he was at least a functional atheist. He might not have intellectually agreed with a non-theist philosophy, but he certainly lived it out as he sinned. The truth is the mighty fall just like all of us, and sometimes a good deal worse than us. But they get up. They resume the journey. Believing really is like riding a bicycle. In the beginning opposite forces pull us to one side or the other. We feel them. We wobble. Occasionally we fall over into doubt, complete with scratches and bruises.
Folks in the Bible felt this too, like when the man cried out to Jesus, “Lord, I believe, help my unbelief!” (Mk. 9:24). He was certain—I believe, but only in part—Help my unbelief! He felt the tension between the two extremes of faith and unbelief. His cry out to Christ was similar to the way a child might holler when the bike he is just learning to ride begins to wobble precariously back and forth.
The Lord told Peter, “Simon, Simon, Satan demanded to have you that he might sift you as wheat, but I have prayed that your faith would not fail” (Lk. 22:31-21). Faith failure doesn’t mean faith that wobbles, trembles, shudders, and even falls (this happened to Peter, who denied Christ), but one that doesn’t recover. It never gets up out of the street.
So do like you did when you were a kid…after falling, have a good cry, hug your mom, get a band-aid and then get back on that Schwinn banana seat with handlebar streamers and the card stuck in the spokes. Go at it again. That’s what it’s all about.