For the largest part of my life I never thought I had faith issues.
After all, I had never seriously doubted God's existence or the truth of the Bible (except just once for about an intense twenty minutes; and that made me even more sure after that.)
What I later realized--gradually; tiptoeing as an eager but unsure young Christian along the glorious path of knowing God that so many greater and better souls had walked before me--was that faith (or the lack thereof) was an aspect of the human heart, way more than the one simple definition I had always defined it with.
Faith basically reflects the gap between us--the human, the limited, the fallible--and God.
Faith is belief in the intangible. Our human mind's instinctive qualification is tangibility, what we can touch and see--even though the very fact that we have, and are so affected by our emotions, should tell us that we were made for much more than the tangible.
Faith in the existence of God--or, more subtly, faith in what He values and wants us to value, what He desires and wants us to desire, such as holiness.
Because of my Christian upbringing it was easier for me to have faith in this aspect, because I grew up sensitive and open to the concept that intangible things could exist, without immediately and automatically slamming the idea as impossible. Also the concept that something I may not personally value or appreciate now did not necessarily mean that that something was intrinsically worthless, that I could even change and grow to appreciate and value it some day.
Both of which are perspectives which, though undeniably good and desirable to have, are much harder to cultivate as an adult, when life experience has made you cynical and self-confident in your own opinions, judgement, and above all the delusion of 'rationality'.
(in case you're wondering why I talk about this without referencing God, I want to preserve the perspective that I had then as a child who didn't actually believe in God, the way I as an individual personally do now.)
Faith is belief in what has not happened yet and may not seem likely to.
Again, as humans, we are so used to our limitations of time and space and perception that we have trouble accepting that God can be so sure, so confident, of something we have no power over or confidence (and our confidence-less is the result of our powerlessness) about.
This was something, too, I had learnt as a child, from the example of the people around me who believed in providence and an omniscient power and lived with hope, always hope, as result, liberating the heart and mind even in the midst of seemingly impenetrable despair.
How many earnest prayers I made in this hope, that Someone could rescue the situation. Even if it didn't rest in me, the ultimate power didn't rest with horrible people. Or horrible circumstances.
And lastly, most painful but most significant of all, is the new aspect of faith that I am slowly learning now.
Faith is belief in redemption of the impossible (what has already happened.)
This is not so much the faith that God will sanctify me (which is faith in what has not yet happened) as faith that God's power and wisdom transcends the mistakes that I have already committed, the ruin I have wreaked on my life, the hurt I have caused others, the wastage I have been guilty of and the loves I have abused. There is a fine line between the two and perhaps for some of you the distinction is unnecessary; you see them both as one and the same. I separate them here because faith in the redemption of the impossible was something distinctly new that I learnt as I lost my confidence in myself.
Looking through my book of quotes, I found a thought which an online classmate had once expressed in discussions on pursuing God's will for your life.
Faith to trust God despite past bad choices.
At that time, it had intrigued me because it was a new thought. But it expressed a struggle that I was about to have to deal with--badly--in the coming years. I won't go into unnecessary details; we all go through our own thorny valley of despair and humbling for various reasons. God help us, it is an excruciating unanesthetized operation to cut out a deadly tumor of pride and complacency, through which we can only clench our teeth and weep for the end, for the removal of that agonizing and fatal ugliness that we never noticed before.
What have I done? O God, I've ruined it, I wanted to live my life well for You and glorify You but I've messed it up and there's no way of cleaning up the mess.
I thought I needed wisdom--wisdom to never repeat it again!--but how about what had already happened? What could possibly be done about that? Nothing.
Faith, I realized, extended to this. When I had ruined it irrevocably. When there was nothing I could do to change what I had done. When the consequences were staring me in the face, and would continue to even as I screamed out in agony I'm sorry.
Faith that God 's good plan for me still applies, that even my stupid, stupid mistakes can be used--somehow--by Him. Faith that I haven't ruined everything, that God by His mercy and power can still use me, still use my life. With all the flaws and mistakes. Despite the wasted chances and wasted time.
Faith to trust God's wisdom and power, even in the face of my foolishness and weakness.
a small voice
Ci thinks some of God's greatest blessings to mankind are
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