Søren Kierkegaard, the famous 19th century Danish philosopher, describes faith in God as a “leap”, a decision to believe in God made not on the basis of evidence, but as an act of the will, a sort of metaphysical jump into the void, not knowing where you will land. But is Kierkegaard right? Certainly there is truth in the notion that faith in God is something that causes someone to act, possibly even radically, due to something profound and powerful operating within them. But it is not quite correct to suggest that faith is a leap made without evidence, because faith in God is not ultimately rooted in an interior feeling or decision, it is rooted in a real, concrete fact: God himself. God is the external reason for the interior leap. Yes, faith is something you do, but you do it because God is.
Perhaps this is why faith is never described by Jesus as a leap or jump. In the Gospels, leaping is an act of joy, not of faith [e.g. Luke 1:41, 6:23]. For Jesus, to have faith is to see; to have no faith is to be blind [John 9:35-39, John 12:37-41]. Faith, for Jesus, is a matter of seeing and hearing, perceiving [Mark 4:12] and understanding [Matthew 13:14]. Then comes action: not a leap, but a turn – conversion. In response, Jesus himself acts: he heals [Matthew 13:15] and forgives [Mark 4:12].
For me, faith, put simply and plainly, is this: I see! I get it! God is real, present, loving, wonderful. I need him, I want him, I choose him. It is all about this seeing, this “getting it”, this realization about God. It is, above all, the recognition that God is real and vitally important, and I need, I want, I must do something about him. Faith changes me, it makes me want to be different, it propels me to Jesus, because I see that God is true, and he makes all the difference.
Do you want faith? Look at Jesus, look deeply and intently, look with open eyes and heart, and see.