Faith in Christ.It’s a difficult thing to understand.

Zoppe Family Circus

It’s been compared to sitting in a chair. You can believe the chair will hold you, but until you actually sit in it, putting all your weight on the seat, you can’t really test your belief. The only problem is life (faith’s playing field) is soooo not like sitting in a chair. It’s full of peril, and joy, of danger and tenderness. It’s up and down, changing speeds with every passing day.

And Scriptural faith is an action verb. Jesus isn’t your Select Comfort specialist giving you the remote to dial in your favorite comfort setting. No, faith is a little more complex.

It’s more like what I recently had the joy of watching when I went to the Zoppe Italian Family Circus. The Zoppe family has been in the circus business for six generations, and it’s obvious one of the biggest reasons they continue is a love for the circus which is passed from father to child. Eighty -two year old, Alberto Zoppe, passed away two years ago, and the night we attended the performance was dedicated to him before it began. At the end a toast was lifted in his honor. Everything done that night was in memory of all he had taught his children.

One of the acts was performed by the Poema family. (I learned later the Poemas have been in the circus for six generations, and the Poema and Zoppe families have been friends for almost as long.) The Poema family juggles…     their kids…      on the father’s feet.

Poema Family



I sat down with Mom, Nellie Poema and her daughter, Marianna for an interview. When I asked Marianna if her father had ever dropped her, she smiled softly and said no.

Through all the flipping and spinning, she has never hit the mat.

Her father is an expert – he knows exactly how to control the performance.

For Marianna, there is nothing hard about trusting her dad. Her job is to allow her father to flip her the way he wants while she rests in his feet. He is doing all the work. She just has to follow his instructions and stay flexible. From the looks on the faces of the Poema and Zoppe children, they enjoy every minute of performing. They seemed to glow both inside and out of the ring when I saw them after the performance, and later the following day.

And that is a much better picture of faith in Christ. God doesn’t declare us forgiven because we are doing the right things. We cannot earn grace through praying so many prayers, or going to church every time the doors open, or staying busy 24/7 helping everyone we can think of. It’s not about what we are doing, because Christ has done all the work.

To make this clearer think about what would happen if during the middle of a flip, Mr. Poema’s son suddenly decided he wanted to show his father some new moves. He doesn’t okay it with his dad, he just takes off.  No matter what the child tried to do the result would be disastrous!

By the same token, we cannot be good enough to reach Christ’s perfection. We have to stay centered in what Christ has already done through living a perfect life while He was here on earth. His perfection is imparted to us when, through faith, we believe our debt has been paid by His death on the cross and His resurrection from the grave.

When we stay centered on that, we move with Christ’s power. God is doing all the work.

Everyday, no matter how God needs to juggle, flip, or spin us, our task is simply to put our full weight in His care, trusting every moment in what Christ has done. God never asks us to impress Him with our moves. He knows that we have no power on our own. He only wants us to follow His instruction and stay flexible.

For Bible verses see “How to Know God” by Blueletter Bible.



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