Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Funny (10/04/12)
TITLE: Charlie Brown Faith
By Hiram Claudio
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Lucy is kneeling down in an open field, holding a football upright with one finger. Then, Charlie Brown comes along. They chat for a bit. She convinces him to back up and kick the ball. He reminds her of ALL the times he has and gone flying as she’s pulled it away. Somehow, every time, she convinces him that this time will be different. His skeptically crinkled brow is replaced with a hope that lights his whole face.
So, he backs up. THIS is going to be the time. “I’m going to really kick that ball” he tells himself. The anticipation of the moment controls his entire being. He crouches down like an Olympic sprinter in a starting block. And … off he goes, gaining speed as he approaches Lucy’s position.
Then, with the taste of victory so close … she pulls the ball away and the force of his momentum sends him flying into the air as he screams … “AAARRRGGHHH!” Landing on his back, he stares upward in disbelief. Lucy then, usually, makes a comment that only adds insult to injury.
Let’s be honest, this scene really is awful. If anyone one of us was Lucy’s parent, she’d probably be in her room for a timeout at the very least. Yet, we laugh. It doesn’t matter that we know what’s coming. We just find something endearing about their encounter. We root for Charlie Brown, criticize Lucy for being so mean, and label the whole thing ‘amusing things that happen when kids get together.’
Why is this scene so endearing? Perhaps it’s that we tend to like underdogs. We want to believe that someday, Charlie Brown will kick that ball. That someday, his life of continual frustration will be washed away in a single moment of triumph. I’m sure that’s part of it. But I see something that goes deeper. In this classic drama, I see something in Charlie that is truly remarkable.
He has … great faith! Some could call it blind or misplaced faith, while others would call it stupidity, and those comments may have their place. But, there’s something special about a faith that isn’t eliminated by that past. When it comes to his goal, past failures, especially at Lucy’s hand, don’t cause him to give up.
In addition to having great faith in his goal, he also displays faith … in Lucy! Possessing every conceivable reason to never trust her again, he still gives her another opportunity to hold the ball for him. Basically, he gives her another opportunity to let him down. I’m sure many will rise up and declare that only children believe like this. But, isn’t childlike faith part of what we should be striving for?
Now, I know what you’re thinking. You might perceive I’m advocating foolish choices in the name of faith. Not at all! I admit that the balance between being wise as serpents while being as harmless as a dove (Matthew 10:16) is a delicate and difficult one. But, it’s one to which we’re called. Some might consider it weakness to keep trying at something that has failed for so long. And even if we applaud our hero for still trying, I think most would advise him to dump Lucy and find another ball holder. All these comments are valid.
Still, I’m brought back to the idea of childlike faith (Mark 10:13-15), a faith that has the tremendous ability to look forward and little room for the past – our own or that of someone else. Should we let people to continually hurt us? No! But neither should we become so jaded that we dismiss anyone’s potential to grow.
Caution, when the product of experience, is healthy. But wisdom and childlike faith aren’t incompatible. With our Savior, life’s experiences can help us become wise without becoming bitter. Perhaps the next time Lucy holds the ball, a parent supervising would be advisable. Regardless, I applaud young Mr. Brown’s faith … one that refuses to allow the past to steal the excitement that comes with being hopeful, a faith that looks forward.
I’m also glad he didn’t write Lucy off. After all, the Lord didn’t write you and me off. Thanks for the lesson, Charlie Brown!
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