Better Proof in Small Things

I recently watched the Cohen Brothers movie “A Serious Man.” There was a scene with a Rabbi giving council to the main character. The Rabbi launches into a story about a dentist who was giving a patient an oral examination and saw Hebrew letters inscribed on the back of the patient’s teeth. It said something along the lines of “you need your savior.”

The movie then goes through scenes of the dentist not being able to eat or sleep. He started neurotically checking all of his patient’s teeth for more messages. He looked through holy books to try to find some answers. He finally sought council from the same Rabbi telling the story, and got advice that was along the lines of “we don’t know how God speaks to us. We shouldn’t worry too much about that. We should just go out and help others.” And eventually the dentist was able to get back to normal life.

It was very thought provoking. It made me think about proof. Proof of the existence of something. And how much and what type of proof is needed for us to believe in something.

I’ve been thinking that we’ve been given a set of realities that are perfect for belief. We’ve been given a natural world that behaves perfectly for trust and belief that everyday, for the most part, we’ll be able to move through safely.

There is also another reality. It’s our spiritual reality. And we’ve been given perfect proof in that as well. Think about this. If God appeared to you, stood in front of you, spoke to you, I believe you’d react one of two ways: 1) You’d explain it away, like we do with every other coincidence or 2) You’d freak out, and not be able to sleep or eat, and go about life neurotically, inconveniently, and unsafely trying to find meaning in that interaction.

God is all knowing so God is more subtle. He communicates in the natural world by means that are more useful to our human nature. Through grace. All knowing, all loving. Just enough grace to allow us to experience that other reality. But not enough to cause shock and awe.

Obviously it’s just my own speculation, but I believe God picked the perfect point in time, with the perfect people to appear to, to teach us for the rest of time about His existence and His plans for our souls. And to show us His loving nature. There is so much here.

Anyone who ever actually decides to catalog this would be able to see it. To feel it. A friend of mine once said of faith in God: “I don’t know how you’re not getting this. It’s the most obvious thing in the world.” She made mention at the time of me not trying hard enough to grasp it, and she was definitely right at the time. It was my time to hear her message. And there is a reason all of these years later that I can still hear it.

In short, there are small signs around all of us of something greater. We have beauty to observe everywhere. We have little acts of grace, love, kindness, and compassion at times when we needed it most. We have things we can’t explain. Think hard enough and you’ll be able to come up with so many of them. What an intelligent and graceful God to show these things to us in small and beautiful ways!

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