Friday, September 2, 2011


Those of us who profess a belief in God are said to have faith.  Faith is a mystery that, no matter how hard we might try, we cannot fully and completely convey its meaning to others.  It is too mysterious, too personal to do any definition justice.  It is a word that believers use a lot, yet, I wonder how often we take this gift which comes from God, seriously.

To the believer of Jesus Christ, faith is an absolute must.  On the surface, our profession of faith in the Son of God seems ludicrous.  Let's just explore this for a moment.

We believe that this man who lived two thousand years ago was, in actuality, the Son of God.  We believe that He was both God and man.  We believed that He lived the perfect life, sinless and in the presence of God, His Heavenly Father.  We believe that He spent three years of His life traveling around the land of ancient Israel proclaiming the Kingdom of Heaven and Salvation.  We believe that after a time, the civil and religious leaders of the day had Him arrested, put on trial, found guilty of blasphemy, tortured and crucified.  But our belief does not stop there.  No, we believe that this Jesus Christ not only died on the Cross, but after three days in the tomb, rose from the dead.

Now no right thinking person would really ever come to believe in such a fantastic story.  It simply doesn't make sense.  It seems like some fairy tale made up to give some sort of comfort and hope to mankind who is awash in a world filled with skepticism and cynicism.  It is fairly easy to believer in a story of a man, a rabbi, going from town to town in ancient Israel preaching.  That was not all that unusual in those days.  And it really isn't much of a stretch to imagine that the authorities of the time would become suspicious of Him as He spoke to the common folk about subjects such as freedom, mercy, and the power of God.  But what does stretch the imagination is that this same itinerant preacher, who was killed by the Romans after a brutally process of torture, rose from the dead after three days of being in a sealed tomb.

That is where the gift of faith comes in. We believe in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ not based on some empirical evidence, but rather on faith.  Why do we believe?  Because Jesus, Who is the Son of God, said that He would rise after being sacrificed for the sins of men.  He is Truth.   There is no other Truth but that of Jesus Christ.  When Pilate asked Him was Truth was, he had no way of knowing that He was looking into the eyes of Truth.

We live near an empty world, devoid of truth.  We don't believe things unless they can be seen or detected in some way, shape, matter or form.  Scientists are the new High Priests of the age.  If a scientist proclaims something as the truth, we take him at his word even though evidence suggests that he is dead wrong about his assertion.  Take the debate of when life begins.  There is no doubt that human life begins at the moment of  conception.  Yet, there are those in the scientific community who insist that no one can truly determine the exact moment when a human being comes into existence.  Despite the evidence that the newly fertilized egg is now a living human being, millions through the years have steadfastly held their ground to state that no one can tell at what point life begins.

Faith is a gift.  Our faith is not really ours!  Our faith comes from God through the Holy Spirit.  The Spirit has touched our hearts with the call of the Father.  We have the option, by virtue of our free will, another divine gift, to accept the call of God to faith or to reject it.  One week accept it, we have the responsibility to develop and live it.

My faith has seen me through more than I could ever possibly recount.  It has gotten me through the dark moments of my life and has allowed me to become a stronger person because of the difficulties even though there may have been much pain involved.  Without this faith, I quite simply am sure that I would not have survived.

When you accept the gift of faith, you begin a journey that guides you to the acceptance of Truth.  We cannot accept Truth without faith and without Truth, there can really be no faith.  Faith does not make us special.  It does, however, allow us to understand how special our relationship with God truly is.  Like everything else that God does, faith is given in Love.  God loves us so much that His love knows no bounds. He gives us the gift of faith because, as our Creator, He understands us in a perfect way.  He knows how we best respond to those things which we truly do not understand.  He knows that man, with the remarkable mind that he was given, could not begin to fathom the reality of God, the wonder of Jesus Christ, and the mysterious nature of the Holy Spirit on his own.  It is through faith that we come to these realizations.

Faith is not something that you can acquire in a lifetime.  It is not like learning how to play the piano in that it can be learned.  No, faith is something that is freely given and it is up to us to freely accept it.  Faith is given to all.  Sadly, many reject this gift because it is too hard to understand and sounds like superstition to the modern ear.  It sounds like a throwback to the Middle Ages and things like witchcraft and magic.  So it is often rejected out of hand because it simply is not sophisticated in some circles to believe in the things that faith allows us to know.

Cultivate faith.  Encourage it in others, especially members of the family.  Teach your children the importance of this gift for it is far more valuable than anything life can provide.  Remind each other that faith is not easy, it is often demanding and humbling.  But it also bestows upon those who cultivate it a sense of peace and serenity that nothing mortal can give.

Most of all, have faith in the one sure being in existence who is worthy of our faith: God.  Trust nothing else in your life like you trust God.  Surrender to Him in faith and your rewards will be great.  Most assuredly, you will still experience the trials and sufferings of life.  They are a part of our human nature.  But living in faith, the faith found in Truth, all of those things won't matter much in the end.  All in this life shall pass.  There is nothing permanent about this world.  Indeed, this world is merely temporary and shall, one day, pass away.  The Truth will not.  Without faith, we cannot have Truth and without Truth, there is no hope.