Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Alphabet of Love - F is for Faith

And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him. Hebrews 11:6

As an atheist, I always thought that faith is an equivalent to an intellectual suicide. A cop-out for the ignorant; an easy ‘band-aid’ for those who lack courage or industriousness to wrestle heartily with ‘real’ problems; a simplistic answer-all, incompatible with modern rational thinking.  I guess I was equating faith in God with blind faith.

But, blind faith is not necessarily the same as faith in God.  In fact, they may actually contradict each other.  For, in a sense, faith in God provides us with an extra eye so we can ‘see’ what is invisible.  It is said of Moses, for example, that he endured, as seeing Him who is unseen (Hebrews 11:27).  He focused his eye on what could not be seen.

Faith has more to do with letting go of the domineering influence of all things visible/tangible – including my emotions and ‘all-important’ point of view - and allowing the unchangeable, ultra-reliable truth of the existence and character of God to increasingly affect all areas of my life.  My foggy thinking and fickle emotions, my fast words and my furious actions, which of course spills into all my relationships - family and friends, Fed-ex guy and funny neighbors. Faith relates more to the 'functionality' of a garden and the fruit-bearing than the functionality of a factory which cranks out products.

In our lives, faith is daily played out on countless levels.  In our relationship with God, it is as a dynamic interaction between us and the Invisible Living God who initiates – speaks, invites, warns, calls, acts - and we respond. Our response – unless we are blind and deaf, which, for the most part, we ARE! – is usually some form of a ‘WOW!” or another.  The glimpses make us realize we really should be dead for we are standing on holy ground and like Moses was instructed, we take off our commonplace shoes (including our comfortable, well-worn religious platitudes) 

Of course, conversing with G-O-D sounds so preposterous, so outrageous that I am inclined to question both my hearing as well as my sanity.  Samuel (I Samuel 3:1-10) needed God to address him three times before he realized it was God who was speaking to him.  This gives me great hope. Also, since the beginning of history, those who chose to listen to the inaudible voice and live in the Presence of the Invisible One were often considered crazy lunatics and fools.  Even Jesus didn’t escape that kind of judgment. Well, I think I'll let you make up your own mind on this one. 

For all the fools, however, who chose to take God at His word, there is a reward.  Of course, that too (at least for now), is received by faith - being sure that God always holds His end of the bargain,  being convinced that when He promises something He will certainly fulfill it.

Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard,
And which have not entered the heart of man,
All that God has prepared for those who love Him. I Corinthians 2:9

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