Faith is a fascinating phenomenon. It’s not really a thought, but it’s not a feeling either. Yet faith encompasses both our thoughts and feelings, affecting them as well as our behavior, endowing it with a transcendent quality. As such, faith serves as a filter through which everything we experience passes and subsequently influences how we respond.
Whether it is faith in ourselves, faith in others, faith in nature, or spiritual faith, our ability to generate faith is determined by a multitude of factors. The nature of the earliest relationships forged with us during childhood is paramount. Relationships characterized by sincerity, unselfishness, devotion, safety, optimism, trust, and love provide the conditions in which faith flourishes. Faithfulness begets faith.
Fitness of faith, its suitability for serving its purpose in our lives, covers a broad range. Faith may be so insubstantial as to provide little or no protection from our own whims or those of others leaving us vulnerable, especially in times of uncertainty. Faith is easy to claim when things are going well, but “a faith of convenience is a hollow faith.” On the other hand, faith may become so unyielding that it causes us to lose sight of everything and everyone else, blinding us to the needs of others. Faith gives us courage to question our beliefs; to evaluate whether or not they are consistent with our humanity. Typical of extremes, neither empty nor rigid faith yield desirable consequences.
There are those who relegate faith to the realm of the innocent, naive, ignorant, and unsophisticated. But faith doesn’t expect everything to always turn out the way we want. It provides the strength to keep going no matter how things turn out. Faith moves us forward even when we can’t see exactly where we’re going. It makes things possible, not easy. Faith doesn’t deny, ignore, or resign to what is unpleasant, harmful, or corrupt. It rejects the temptation to be satisfied with being less than we are capable of being. Faith doesn’t sit around waiting for things to get better. It inspires us to get up and make things better for ourselves and others.
Faith doesn’t blind us to reality. It opens our eyes to possibilities! Be of good faith!