Thursday, March 1, 2012

Faith is ...

"Just believe, just have faith."  So often these words slip from between our lips.  But what do they mean?  Are they platitudes or are they real?  And if they're real, how do they work? what do they look like in practical terms?  

I believe that faith is paradoxical.  It is most active when it insists upon being passive, and it is most impotent when it insists on frantically acting ... because after all, we can't just stand there; we have to DO something!  

Of course by passive I don't mean lazy.  I mean that there is a desire, a deep desire to let God be God and not to hinder His work.  There is a determination to trust when there may seem to be nothing there to justify that trust.  

Source (via Google Images):
Faith is falling. (By falling I don't mean into temptation!)  It's that moment when you know that you can't save yourself from falling flat on your face if you pursue His presence ... and there's nothing there that you can see ... and you fall anyway, let yourself go, knowing in your deepest heart that He'll catch you. 

Faith - if you can feel it emotionally - is very comforting.  Millions of people are comforted by believing that God is with them and sensing His presence.  But it's also frightening.  Believing, trusting, having faith - takes a lot of courage!!  Or is that desperation??  Especially when the emotion just isn't there, when the heavens seem like a giant quonset hut roof, words echoing back and making a big noise... signifying nothing.  When prayer seems to go unanswered.  When the circumstances are oppressive.  

It's those times when - as one songwriter wrote - "believing becomes my victory."  When all strength is gone, and there is nothing left, faith is content to rest - to relinquish all that is not conducive to the spirit-life within and to simply focus, moment-by-moment, on that which is good, pure, praise-worthy, and virtuous.  To shove aside all that detracts from that determination and to lean against His shoulder, to relax into the loving care of God - and let Him carry you.

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