But behold, if ye will awake and arouse your faculties, even to an experiment upon my words, and exercise a particle of faith, yea, even if ye can no more than desire to believe, let this desire work in you, even until ye believe in a manner that ye can give place for a portion of my words.” (Alma 32:27)
I have a background in theatre. And, in theatre, there’s a term called suspension of disbelief. Basically, it means that when you go to a play, you allow yourself to sit in this world that is being created for you and believe the environment enough to see the story unfold as if it were logical. You allow yourself to believe that it’s totally normal to break into song. You allow yourself to believe that a light change means it’s now night or day or that you’re in the forest. And when you allow yourself to believe these things, you are transported to a new place. Only then you can be transformed by the story. I’ve had the experience of being changed by what I’ve seen as an audience member. Theatre simply is not effective without a willing suspension of disbelief.
I’ve been thinking a lot about faith lately. Faith in God. Faith in the gospel. Faith in things that seem — to my rational/logical mind — impossibly fantastic. I think faith requires a certain suspension of disbelief. I know that might seem like a negative way to view faith for some. It might seem demeaning to relate faith to pretending. Choose, for one minute, to not see it that way.
Faith requires you to allow yourself to go to a place where these impossibly fantastic things can be true. Once in that space, you can be transformed by it in the way the creator wants us to be transformed.
Sometimes I go through life acting as if I have complete control over the environment I inhabit. But the truth is that I didn’t design this world. I didn’t create it. It was created for me. It was created for us. And, like a theatrical play, I am simply experiencing this space for a moment. Perhaps not as audience members, but as a participant. It seems the Creator made this world a place where we must suspend disbelief to see — even just a glimpse — of the full story. We have to suspend disbelief to give room for belief. And when we’re in that space, maybe we can be transformed.
I could easily choose to live in disbelief. I could choose to see a light change as a simple shift from blues to pinks to oranges, but (honestly) I’d rather see it as a sunrise. I could choose to see everything with my rational mind, but I’d rather see miracles.
I want to believe there is a grand design for this life and my place within it. So I choose to suspend disbelief, so I can latch on to faith. And, thereby, be transformed.