(Faith is not optional. The question is, "In just what do you place your faith?")
By Tom Dardick
When you think of faith, what comes to mind? Is it the measure of your belief in that which is unseen or unknowable? Or, do you think of faith as a thin, mostly irrational tether to cherished ideals?
Here’s the thing - faith is not optional. You have faith. The question is, "In just what do you place your faith?" Perhaps the most significant expression of faith is a belief in God. Some use faith in God as a guide through life. Others believe that the notion of an all-powerful Creator is a fairy tale and thus a distraction. Neither side is able to convince the other that they are wrong, and each associates their belief with the concept of faith.
We all try to build a picture of the world which will help us to more positively identify our values, perceptions, and decision-making. Because we are beings of limited perceptual powers, we use faith to fill in the gaps. Our thoughts and, by extension, our emotions and behaviors are products of our faith. We need to ask ourselves why we place our faith in our chosen ideal and how is our faith choice working for us, and others.
Our mythology profoundly impacts how we invest our faith. So does the ubiquitous messaging to which we are exposed. The stories we are told, combined with our experiences, coalesce into a picture by which we learn to identify “normal.” Against this, we select lessons that build our lattice of belief. Once formed, our faith keeps us on the course we have derived from those beliefs.
Not all beliefs are equal. Our faith may be placed in a political ideology, our career, the pursuit of material possessions or physical experiences, our relationships, modern science, or even our sense of self. Sooner or later, these stepping stones of faith are tested. Sooner or later, circumstances require us to place our full weight on a particular “faith stone.” It either supports us or it doesn’t.
The aforementioned faith stones may crumble like chalk when weight is applied. We let ourselves down. People disappoint us. Prevailing scientific theories or claims are found to be erroneous. When this happens, it causes us distress and we lose our balance.
The footing is most solid where there is timeless truth. The greatest known repository for that is the Bible. Faith in God’s wisdom is solid to those who believe in it because it teaches that God’s wisdom is safety: Proverbs 2:7. This is a “faith stone” because, although I can’t prove it to be true, there is ample evidence to consider it. For instance, when I lack clarity, focus, and feel unappreciated or insignificant, I can feel my faith working and growing.
I encourage you to consider where you place your faith. Where does it work, and where are your stones wobbling? Seek truth, and place your trust in the stones that are unbreakable.