Faith. It may be one of the most confusing concepts to wrap our heads around and to make proper use of in our lives. Everywhere in the Bible we see stories of faith. Jesus was very clear that without faith we can do nothing. And yet we struggle.
I think some of the confusion comes in regard to what we are actually putting our faith in. Jesus tells us that if we have faith the size of a mustard seed then we could say to a mountain “move” and it will move. So is our faith in the power of our mind? Or in our own willpower to accomplish something? I know when I was little I used to think that if I just concentrated hard enough I could make something happen or come true.
We seem to see a lot of faith these days – just look at the Human Potential Movement or popular new age religions that preach the power of our minds or our positive thoughts. From there they advance to the power of the “loving Universe” to make our dreams come true and make us richer than we can imagine. Hmm.…
I think the bottom line is this: Our faith must be in God’s goodness and in the revelation of His goodness in the person of His Son, Jesus Christ, who came and died for our sins.
I know, you may be thinking, “Well, of course, that’s it. That’s not news.” But in practice, for many of us, it may very well be. When we are praying for something we truly want, something that seems to be good from every angle from which we examine it, we believe that it should come to pass. And yet, so many times it doesn’t. Terrible things still happen. We experience emotional pain or distress. And we lose faith. A loved one dies. And we lose faith. We turn away from God and His Church. I’m sure the apostles prayed fervently for Jesus to avoid the cross…for the Pharisees to relent, for Pilate to intervene. And yet, utter devastation occurred. Now, of course, we know the end of the story…resurrection, redemption, and joy. But Mary and the disciples did not know then how Jesus’ death could be part of God’s plan. Hanging onto faith on that dark Friday evening and through Saturday must have been an enormous challenge. How many of us would have been able to do that?
We are living in unprecedented times when right is wrong, wrong is right and anxiety, uncertainty and fear seems to pervade every aspect of our lives. Now more than ever we need to really contemplate our faith. Is it in God’s ultimate goodness that we trust, no matter what the outcome? Is it His love we rely on and His wisdom, so high above our own, that we defer to? It may seem scary to trust in a God that sometimes says “no” to our prayers.
But remember, it is always out of His love for us whenever He says “no”.…He can’t help Himself in that regard. His very nature is to love His creatures. Let’s trust that He knows what He’s doing. Like a friend planning a surprise party, He may let us wonder, may let us feel rejected, and abandoned for a time…but for a greater surprise. Let’s give up the worry that comes in and steals our peace. St. Padre Pio had it exactly right…“Pray, trust, and don’t worry”.
Remember, “for the joy that lay before Him He endured the cross” (Hebrews 12:2). The goal is joy. Our joy is HIS joy. We just need to turn our eyes upon Jesus and have our faith be in Him.
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