Thursday, December 2, 2010

Is There A Place For Faith In Our Lives?

6:18 pm

As I ask this question, I hear a collective "Yes, but..." And to be fair I also hear a few "No's." I am one who believes there is a place for faith in our lives in today's world, but I would be one of those to add the word "but" in there too. Because faith can mean so many different things to different people. Other questions come into play too. "What is the basis for our faith?" "Who or what do we have faith in?"

For me, faith used to mean placing belief in an outward God, someone who cared for us yet was still separate from ourselves. What I believed in primarily was that if I had faith in the person Jesus - who I considered to still be alive - that I would go to heaven.

But to me now, faith has to be more than that. It's not just fire insurance, or making sure we don't end up in hell. What's more, I don't believe that Jesus is still alive or that there is even a Hell, so what then do I mean by faith?

Firstly, I believe that we must have faith in ourselves, faith that we are not a part from God but are a part of God. Faith in ourselves means that we are not sinful, depraved people at our very core, but that we are wondrous expressions of the Divine him/herself. If we believe in this, then faith can become a much more personal matter and not merely something we place on someone or something outside of ourselves. If we are one with God and divine in nature just as Jesus Christ was, then we can have faith in a power that is inside ourselves. When we pray our prayers can go inward rather than outward. So I believe faith in ourselves is crucial.

But what happens when we can't find the answers to our questions or concerns inside of ourselves? That is where faith in God, who is both transcendent and imminently close, comes in. We may call this God Father, Mother, Spirit, Love, or the Universe among many other things. If things are up in the air in one or more areas of our lives - jobs, relationships, family to name a few - I believe that we can utilize that faith-power that is inside ourselves. This is where faith in the transcendent God comes in. I believe that God knows what we need before we even ask. The line from O Holy Night comes to mind right now: "He knows our needs, to our weakness He's no stranger." Faith in this respect, at least to me means letting go and letting God. This requires a trust that God, or the Universe is working everything together for the good of those who love Him/Her.

Each time we are faced with a seemingly insurmountable problem or crisis, we have the choice: to be wracked by worry and anxiety, or to "Step Out of The Boat." I am referring of course to the story in the gospels when Jesus' disciples are out on a boat during a storm, and Jesus appears before them walking on the water. He calls on Peter to step out of the boat, keep his eyes on Jesus, and walk on the water himself. Peter steps out of the boat, keeps his eyes on Jesus and starts walking on water, then he gets scared and looks down at the water and begins to sink. I believe this can be a powerful lesson for us today. If we have faith, step out of the boat and keep our minds on God (whoever that may be for us) we can make it through. How are we to walk on water or step over all the difficulties or crises in our lives? That's not our job to figure it out. We simply need to keep our eyes, our faith on God and She will figure out the rest.

It is easy to have faith when things are going all peachy keen in our lives. It is another thing entirely to actually have faith when things are tough and our pathway isn't clear at all. But this is where real faith kicks in.

In closing, I encourage both you, and myself because I need it so badly, to step out of the boat and walk by faith, not by sight.


Mark Andrew