We sit together at breakfast this honest seeker and I, a young man who I have the great good fortune of meeting this morning, who reveals more to me than I to him. By happenstance, if such a thing is to be believed in, we have been brought together, him seeking faith, me welling up with unexpected passion to explain my own.
Our subject is honest about his position. He sees great value in the social structure the church provides, great wisdom in the moral and philosophical precepts the scriptures teach, great promise in the philanthropic work the body of Christ undertakes. And yet, he will state matter-of-factly that he remains unsure about the spiritual reality of Christianity.
On this foundation he stands, his mind open, seeking for ideas and doctrines, carefully and skeptically weighing them, patiently considering the advice and thoughts and experiences of others, ever pursuing a reality he is not sure of, unsure he possesses a spiritual inclination, intellectually fascinated by the possibility of encountering the reality he hears so much about from others, ready to be convinced but pessimistic that he can be.
As we talk he questions me with deep and thoughtful interrogatories: Why is there evil and suffering? Why do Christians see all sin as equal? What is the resurrection supposed to mean? I struggle along to provide what answers I can; he follows with more difficult queries, testing not only me but the very limits of rational thought. When I tell him that some questions are beyond human understanding, he pauses, pondering the thought, piercing it with the sharp edges of his mind, perhaps perturbed by the prospect but satisfied by my honesty (if not the truth of my assertion).
He holds my attempts at answers in his hand, turning them slowly to view them from every angle, taking the measure of them, ascertaining their boundaries and their flaws. When I tell him that faith is a truth that must be experienced, not proved, he looks back at me with understanding, his young eyes seeming older by far.
I appreciate his skepticism. He is cautious before ever finding faith. Even before he believes, he is building a tower, testing its foundations, proving it to himself before he makes it his home. His, when he finds it, will be a strong faith, well considered, conscious of the ambiguities with which one must become comfortable to maintain faith, both reasonable and beyond reason. He is honest, surely the God who sees his heart will reward such honest seeking.
We part ways after a few hours but agree to meet regularly to continue our fellowship. But I am no guide, merely a fellow traveler on a road we all must walk to its destination.