THINK ON THESE: Faith is more than just believing

“None of us knows what might happen even the next minute, yet still we go forward. Because we trust. Because we have faith.” – Paulo Coelho


“To have faith is to have complete trust and confidence – and even more specifically, to believe in something even without tangible proof,” wrote author April Davila, whose debut novel, 142 Ostriches, was released in 2020.

“We live by faith or we do not live at all,” said Harold Walker. “Either we venture – or we vegetate. If we venture, we do so by faith simply because we cannot know the end of anything at its beginning. We risk marriage on faith or we stay single. We prepare for a profession by faith or we give up before we start. By faith we move mountains of opposition or we are stopped by molehills.”

Religion, whatever you believe in, is based in faith, and “can help us set aside worry by trusting that a power greater than ourselves will guide us through life’s inevitable trials,” Davila wrote.

“Faith grows when it is lived and shaped by love,” said Pope Francis. “My faith helps me overcome such negative emotions and find my equilibrium,” the Dalai Lama also said.

Martin Luther King, Jr. penned these words: “Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.” Dr. Elton Trueblood, Quaker theologian and chaplain, had the same view in mind when he said, “Faith is not belief without proof, but trust without reservation.”

The New American Webster Handy College Dictionary defines faith as “belief without proof.” It also means “confidence” and “reliance.” To William Wordsworth, “Faith is a passionate intuition.”

Having a hard time understanding what faith really is? Poet Rabindranath Tagore compares faith to that of a “bird that sings when the dawn is still dark.” American rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel believes faith is not the clinging to a shrine “but an endless pilgrimage of the heart.”

“To me,” said John Dewey, “faith means not worrying.” The late Bishop William A. Quayle used to tell of an experience during a sleepless night. After rolling and tossing far into the night, he said that he seemed to hear God’s voice telling him to go on to sleep and let God run the world the rest of the night.

Faith can move mountains, but don’t be surprised if God hands you a shovel. In his book, The Edge of Adventure, Bruce Larson tells a story about a letter found in a baking powder tin which is wired to the handle of a pump. It offered the only hope of drinking water on the seldom-used trail across a desert. The letter in the tin read as follows:

“This pump is all right as of June 1955. I put a new leather sucker washer into it, and it ought to last several years. But this leather washer dries out and the pump has got to be primed. Under the white rock, I buried a bottle of water. There’s enough water in it to prime the pump, but not if you drink some first. Pour in about one-quarter and let her soak to wet the leather. Then pour in the rest medium fast and pump like crazy. You’ll get water. The well has never run dry. Have faith.”

If you were the person who found the letter, what would you do? You are very thirsty and there’s immediate water. Will you do what you have been instructed to do? A postscript of the letter reads: “Don’t go drinking up the water (in the bottle) first. Prime the pump with it first, and you’ll get all you can hold.”

Hebrews 11:1 states: “Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” Gerry was a hard-headed person, so to speak. When a flood hit his area, he climbed to his roof. A rescue boat came by, but Joshua called back to their offer of help; “No, thanks. I have faith in the Lord. He will save me.”

The waves came higher and Gerry scrambled to the highest part of his roof. Another boat came by to save him, but Gerry waved them off, professing his faith that the Lord would save him. When the waves began lapping his feet, he pulled himself to the tip of the roof. A helicopter swooped down to save him, but Gerry was still depending on the Lord.

Of course, you know what happened next. Gerry drowned. When he stood before the Lord, he complained, “Lord, I had such faith in you. Why didn’t you save me?” To which the Lord replied, “What more do you want from me? I sent you two boats and a helicopter?”

As the Bible puts it: faith, without work, is dead. “The whole course of things goes to teach us faith,” wrote Ralph Waldo Emerson. “We need only obey. There is guidance for each of us, and by lowly listening we shall hear the right word. Place yourself in the middle of the stream of power and wisdom which flows into you as life, place yourself in the full center of that flood, then you are without effort impelled to truth, to right, and a perfect contentment.”

To get things done, an ounce of faith is worth a ton of experience. American writer Rudyard Kipling recounted how a battle was won by the fool raw recruits, the boys who stormed the fort like lunatics, while the old wise soldiers knew better and held back. “Faith is not trying to believe something regardless of the evidence,” Sherwood Eddy said. “Faith is daring to do something regardless of the consequences.”

“Faith is not the belief that God will do what you want,” wrote Max Lucado in his book, He Still Moves Stones: Everyone Needs a Miracle. “It is the belief that God will do what is right.”

Thomas Aquinas, Dominican priest and philosopher, said it aptly: “To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary. To one without faith, no explanation is possible.”


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