“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see…And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” – Hebrews 11:1, 6
Faith is, first and foremost a hope we have for something better – for healing and reconciliation. For brokenness to be made holy. Faith is more than a wish, but not quite a belief either; belief is rooted in the mind while faith is rooted in the heart. Ultimately though, faith is challenging – something to be worked at.
Last week, we considered the difficult reality of living through a pandemic and the spiritual questions this can raise. We also reflected on the ways in which a spiritual experience of the world might enable us to respond hopefully, seeking out others and caring for one another. This week we ask how faith might fit into this framework – responding in hope by seeing potential in others, realizing our own depths and rising to new life lived in the knowledge and love of God.
In Chapter 9 of Mark’s Good News about Jesus, we read of a man whose son has been rendered senseless. He has according to his father a “mute spirit” (Mark 9:17). Jesus calls for the boy to be brought before him and asks how long he had been afflicted. The man cries “If you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” Jesus’ response is powerful: “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes”. The man responds in kind “Lord, I believe; help me in my unbelief.”
This story shows us the nature of faith. It is not simply a matter of the head – a set of rules to be followed and truths to be told, but rather a journey to be lived out; from doubt to willingness. It is with hesitation and stumbling that we recognize the frailty of our own experience and are too able to cry out “help me with my unbelief”.
Faith is the expression of a hope for something more than what we see in front of us. No more and no less. It is a confidence and expectancy that things can improve, that things will get better and that together we shall overcome. Faith is relational – it takes place in the context of relationships with others. Whether we see the unrealized potential of others, the goodness within ourselves or the possibility of a better world for all people, faith shapes and forms us to be a better reflection of the love of God.
I invite you this week to consider how you might make faith a more important part of your daily life – to seek out a God who yearns for relationship with each of us and who offers us hope and assurance.
Children, Youth and Families Worker