Faith Value

Leap of Faith
In truth, “We walk by faith, not by sight.”

 

“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1

In modern society’s expanding secularity, faith is losing ground; at least, this is true of religious faith.  Faith, to the ever more scientific mind of the common-man, is growing steadily useless and without value.  “What good or use is faith?” Asks the modern believer in the scientific method.  This is really a good question, and one that I’m sure most people, especially religious skeptics, have failed to pursue with any rigor. And before the religious among you get all high-handed, I’d add that, in all probability–neither have you.

The question of what faith is, has birthed many debates  across history.  Theologians and lay persons have sought certainty about what faith is so they could know what was necessary to possess it. When I use the word faith, as in “I have faith in X”, I do not mean that I have confidence in X, or that I hope X is true; I am claiming to know X is true. And I only use the term in the absence of proof. For myself, faith needs uncertainty. Without it, faith is unnecessary, and all we need do is memorize the facts.

Fortunately, for the faithful, uncertainty surrounds us. Every future second does not exist except in our faith.  There is no CSI team on Earth who can discover evidence of God. There are no experts writing texts on the immortal souls of humankind. We need faith to feel anchored in the world, to offer some answers to the questions that haunt us: Where did we come from? What lies in our future, beyond the hour of our death? In truth, “We walk by faith, not by sight.”

Scientists need some faith too, I think. Some of the factors used in their studies are very mysterious. Time has never been seen or measured. It has no direct effect in our cause and effect universe, therefore it is undetectable. It does not flow through clocks, yet the scientist knows it is there–somehow.  Newton’s laws of conservation assert that energy cannot be created or destroyed and Einstein’s theory of relativity shows that energy and matter are forms of the same thing, so in view of the laws of conservation, where did all of the matter/energy in the universe come from?Mysterious indeed.

Crushed_Flowers_on_Road
Without faith in my life’s redemption, the hopelessness would have crushed my spirit like an apple blossom underfoot.

Even in the face of obvious needs for faith, how do we know its value? My personal answer arises from my days of clinical depression and subsequent unemployment. I learned the value of faith when it was tested. When I looked in the face of pain and knew I could end it–that was a test. When I lost my teaching position because I wasn’t getting better–that was a test. Like so many aspects of life, my sense of faith’s value remained abstract and unquantifiable until it was lost or tested.  Had I not had faith in my life’s redemption, the hopelessness would have crushed my spirit like an apple blossom underfoot.

In the midst of my darkest days, did I doubt? Absolutely. My faith is as imperfect as I am. But at some level, I knew my doubt did not diminish my need or render me incapable of faith. The path of faith is not being impervious to doubt. It is simply the stubborn refusal to let doubt have the last word.  And so I held on, even when I felt like a failure. Faith’s value remained with me.

Faith is more valuable than diamonds but just as hard. When Peter stood next to Jesus on the water–his faith faltered. Here I am, two thousand years distant in time and unknowable space, how could I expect to be different? Nevertheless, I continue to value faith, even when it’s flawed. Now, my prayer is, if life slips into darkness again, may I remember that my life is what it is, not what I ask for. May I find the strength to bear it, the grace to accept it, the faith to embrace it.

 

3 thoughts on “Faith Value”

  1. Isaiah 7:9b…”if you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all”.
    I enjoyed your blog. Faith is what keeps us going…in both our good and thankful times, and in our low and dark times. I can appreciate everything you wrote.

  2. interesting and insightful post, Roy. I am often in awe of my children’s faith — so naive and honest and pure. But then I realize that my faith has a depth and richness that comes only from being tested. These tests have deepened and strengthened my faith. I can’t possibly grow stronger in my faith without asking questions and digging deeper. However, it can be a slippery slope. We need to cautiously pursue the answers to questions with this goal in mind — to grow closer to God, to strengthen our relationship with Him. And to surround ourselves with those who have trudged through it before and will hold us accountable. Iron sharpens iron….

  3. Continuing in Hebrews, “By faith we understand that the universe was ordered by the word of God,” Faith and science go hand in hand. Neither seems as strong without the other. So to, it seems, doubt is a close relative to faith. Realize that faith is a gift. We cannot look down on those without faith. We can only share our gift with them by example, in the hope that some small part of our knowledge can be planted like a seed in their minds. By the way, I have plans for researching the “God Particle” for a future story. Keep the faith brother. Jim

Your thoughts are valuable--Share them!