"Faithless is he that says farewell when the road darkens."
-- J.R.R. Tolkien
Faith. My pastor gave an amazing message yesterday morning on that subject. Based on Hebrews 11, he noted that the definition of faith today is vastly different than the definition 200 years ago. Faith today is all about feeling, all about emotion. Our faith is flimsy, dependent on the events and people that surround us. Faith according to Hebrews is "being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." In that context, one can argue the idea that faith is not about feeling or emotion, because with this kind of faith we have no attachment or connection to the object of our faith outside of trusting and believing the God of the universe cares. As Jason Ostrander put it, "We serve the God who spins galaxies on one hand, but on the other, is intimately concerned about our afternoon." It is incredible how much faith it takes to believe that the God who created the universe, who molded the stars and put the planets in motion, is so concerned about our small problems.
I read a book titled, I Don't Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist by Frank Turek. It was one of the most challenging reads of my life and really spoke on how much more faith it requires to believe in the non-existence of God than it takes for us to believe in the existence of God. Do we really exercise that faith though? Jesus constantly referenced faith in the Bible as childlike. Children constantly have faith in their parents that they will do what's best for them, that they'll give them the food they need. Children also have amazing faith in the Lord. I've heard countless stories of the most impossible situations imaginable and a child giving the most profound, trusting and believing answer that God will heal or provide. We practice faith everyday in the world around us. We exercise faith that when we turn on a light switch, the light will come on. We exercise faith when we sit down in the chair to eat dinner, it will support us. We exercise faith that when the stoplight turns red, the other cars will stop as you proceed through the intersection. All small amounts of faith required for the littlest things in our lives.
As we proceed into 2011, I find myself asking the question -- do I have childlike faith? Do I have that kind of faith that says even when the road darkens, I will not abandon my course? Entering 2011, I pray that I have the kind of faith that always believes, always hopes, and always trusts. "Hope does not disappoint us." We may doubt, but when doubt gets in the way of our faith and hope, it is then the problem arises.
"Faith is deliberate confidence in the character of God whose ways you may not understand at the time." --Oswald Chambers