The first thing a reader must do to enjoy a story is to suspend disbelief. When I sit down to read Dumbo to my daughter, I will not enjoy that story if the whole time I am telling myself that elephants cannot fly. I must put aside my doubts about how strong an elephant’s ears can be and choose to believe the story as written. When I do, I begin to empathize with the ridiculed little elephant. I want to show those rude, mean elephants that this little guy is too worth something. By suspending my natural response of disbelief, I find the story opens up a reality we can all relate to: feelings of rejection and the desire to do great things.
You have a story.
Perhaps your story seems a little dog-eared and tattered from what you hoped it would be. There are parts of your story you will doubt. Many people never get past their unbelief and continue through life with their ears dragging the ground. If you would suspend your disbelief, however, a whole new world will open up to you.
If you don’t suspend your disbelief enough to accept a world of talking elephants, you will never “get” the story. When you read the Bible, you have to put aside your natural inclination to not believe. Only by willful suspension of disbelief will you find the blessings of faith. God calls us to believe His Word.
A man came to Jesus one day and said, “My daughter has died. Lord, come and touch her and she will live again.” Jarius had put aside his natural bent toward disbelieving and chose to accept by faith that Jesus would raise up his dead daughter. Because this desperate dad hung his doubt out to dry and plunged forward in faith, his story changed. Jesus raised her from the dead even though everyone else was laughing at Him.
Another believer came forward and told herself that if she could just touch the fringe on Jesus’ robe, she would be healed. When she touched Him, her miracle happened and the bleeding stopped. Jesus told her, “Be of good cheer, daughter; your faith has made you well.” In other words, her willful suspension of disbelief had made her well. She chose to accept Christ as her healer and then her story changed.
Shortly after this, two blind men came to Jesus and asked Him to heal them. He asked, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” In other words, “Are you willing to suspend natural disbelief and accept the reality of your healing by My power.” They said, “Yes, Lord.” Jesus put His hand on their eyes and said, “According to your faith let it be to you.” (See Mark 9:18-34 for these events).
God wants to change your story.
You must accept the new reality of God’s perfection in you. He has plans and designs to unfold in your life that will not happen if you do not believe. I had to accept by faith that God wanted to use me as a writer before He ever did. There were too many other writers and I had nothing new to say. Still, He called me and I accepted this as my story and have seen Him do things through me I never imagined.
According to your faith, so your destiny will be to you. With disbelief in the mix, the gears will not turn. You must suspend—actually discard—your disbelief. Grab ahold of the promises of God’s Word by faith. Accept as true His story about you that you are a new creature. When you accept this by faith, you will live differently and your story will change.
I might even feel like crying when Dumbo’s mom is locked up and cannot see him. My emotions become involved in pure fiction as if it were a real event. At the beginning of any story, you will struggle to believe how true it all could be. However, even some of the most outlandish stories can have a life-changing message if one is willing to put aside natural resistance long enough to get into the plot.
I recently watched a DVD with my children about some animated vehicles. I seriously do not believe that wheeled vehicles with fossil-fuel engines can talk or think. However, by choosing to stay with the story, I found myself overwhelmed with emotion. I panicked with the little vehicle for fear it would be destroyed. I felt a sense of satisfaction at the end when the hero wins and the bad guy gets what he deserves.
Become like a child.
Children believe stories. A child believes that Dumbo might die in the burning building if he doesn’t fly. Jesus said we must become as children to enter the Kingdom. Will you accept as true some of the outlandish, incredible things God wants to do through you?
When the story of Dumbo starts, you might not believe in talking animals. The more you get into the story, the more you connect with its message. How do you suspend your disbelief about what God wants to do in your life? Get into the story. Open the Bible, cast out all your doubts, and accept the Truth of all that is written there.
Next, get the story into you by praying. More than just reading God’s story, let Him rewrite yours. You immerse yourself in the plot of life by prayer. Spend time with the Author in faith-filled conversation about what He is doing and will do in your life and those you influence. Watch the plot thicken and the narrative captivate you, as you accept as true all God intends in your life.
What are some beyond-belief things the Lord has done in your life? Share in the comments section!