The birth of my first child hit me like a ton of bricks. My wife, Chana and I did all the birthing prep courses and read all the books we could get our hands on. But when that baby came into the world, I was literally in total shock. Even after all the knowledge I had accumulated I was still completely taken by surprise. It was clear to me that seeing is not believing. Only then I realized that God becomes believable only when life becomes unbelievable.
One day my seven year old son asked me how is it that when it is day for us in Israel, it is night for Grandpa and Grandma in Canada? I took a tennis ball and a basketball to demonstrate how the earth (the tennis ball) rotates on its axis and circles the sun (the basketball). As I am explaining this simple concept, feeling delighted to share this very basic knowledge with my son, I see the incredulous look on his face.
Suddenly I got a glimpse of how all this looks to my son’s pure eyes of wonder. I then realized how utterly arrogant of me to think that I could actually explain the movement of the universe. My son’s expression communicated to me how unbelievable it all was.
Think of it, the earth is a mass of rock and soil, eight thousand miles in diameter, covered with an envelope of gases and with a hot liquid inner core. It is 93 million miles from the sun, which is really a star, a self-luminous body of exploding nuclear reactions that is 865,400 miles in diameter. These giants are spinning out in space in a precise order and rhythm we are just barely beginning to understand.
If it had not been for my son’s incredulous face I would have continued to think of the sun and earth as two balls out in space—a model I had seen in science class. I would have had before my eyes an image that was as far away from reality as the earth is from the sun.
Sometimes even seeing is not believing.