I recently went swing dancing with some friends. If you're familiar with the basics of swing dance, then you know the most important elements are the steps, the follow/lead, and the timing. In life, there are unpredictable twists, turns, dips, and spins. I believe trusting in God is like a dance. We can't always understand the outcome or the direction we're going in. Yet we can trust God to lead us. For a dance to work, you need a strong lead and an obedient follower. As I pondered this concept, an analogy came to me. Just like the steps, lead/ follow, and timing are necessary for a dance, so too the virtues of faith, hope, and love are necessary for Christian life. So I wanted to explore these potential parallels. Keep in mind I am not a theologian, just a gal with ideas.
In swing dancing, the steps are an essential element. Without the steps, the dance goes nowhere. We accept the steps as a necessary part of the dance. Using our analogy, faith is like the steps in a dance. It's not a perfect analogy, but hear me out. Faith in simple terms is believing in something. Maybe you've heard the saying "have a little faith". However, Christian faith goes deeper. It's belief in God and all that He has revealed to us through doctrine and scripture. Faith is the belief in fundamental truths of Christianity that God has revealed. A simple example is how Christians believe Jesus is the Son of God. Most people want something to believe in. Faith gives our lives purpose. Otherwise life is meaningless. Likewise, without the steps in a dance, you're as stationary as a statue. But with faith, you gain momentum. With faith, you start to go places.
Lead and Follow
The lead and follow dynamic is also essential in dancing. As the partner following, we don't know what the next step is, yet we trust the lead to steer us in the right direction. Hope is like this too. Many people view hope as optimism or well wishes. We say to each other " I hope you have a great day". But in the case of Christian hope, the meaning is more profound. To hope is to trust in the future good that God has for us and His sovereign reign over all of creation. Hope requires letting God lead us, and leaning on His strength instead of our own. When you're doing a dip in a dance, as the partner following, you have to trust that your lead partner has got you. If you resist, you risk straining your neck. It's better to go with the movement and allow it to happen. Just like how a reed bends in the wind. A good partner will never let you fall. Having Christian hope requires faith, just like how the lead and follow dynamic need the dance steps. To hope is to surrender and let yourself to be guided.
The single most important element in dance is timing. If the timing is off, the entire dance falls apart. In a dance, love is like the timing that the both partners need to be in sync. I could write an entire blog post just on love; specifically Christian love. If you look at the majority of songs written today, most of them are about love. But I am not talking about the cheesy, Hallmark movie type of love. I am talking about genuine love; pure, raw, and till my dying breathe. Love that wills the good of the other for the other's sake. It's not sentimental, it' sacrificial. A love that is proven through actions; motivated by the will. The ultimate example of this was Jesus dying on the cross for us. He didn't do it for Himself. It was purely for us, so that we could have a chance at salvation. As Paul mentions in his letter to Corinthians, "so faith, hope, and love remain, but the greatest of these is love". Without the timing, steps and lead/ follow dynamic, the dance doesn't work. Likewise without love, the virtues of faith and hope fall short. Because love is the motivating factor for both virtues. It's the bond that makes faith and hope possible.
Perhaps this is overly simplified, but I believe I wrote this for someone specific. If this applies to you, my advice is don't overthink it. The truth is simple. St Patrick used a shamrock to explain the concept of the Trinity. I propose trusting in God is like a dance.