This week I went to the funeral of a little girl who was just 20 months old.
When I initially heard the new that Iola (spelt with an ‘I’ said like a ‘Y’) had died I was of course sad but also angry. I think perhaps angry at God. My question was ‘Why’. Why would He take a gorgeous treasured little girl for no clear reason. It just didn’t make sense to me.
I posted about how I was feeling and I’m glad I did. This is why I blog. To process my thoughts. This time, the answer I needed came not from my own thought processing but in the comments to that post.
The reasons why, they’re in God’s hands. He DOES have a plan and it’s not always for us to understand.
This is where faith comes in. This is what faith is. Accepting without knowing.
Which funnily enough, is a conversation I’ve had a few times in the last few weeks. Even before Iola passed. At that point though, under the emotion of grief again rising in my life, I wasn’t able to connect those recent conversations with the questions I was crying over.
So faith. What is it really? I’ve thought a lot on this. Not because I’m questioning my faith but perhaps to have a deeper awareness.
Also, blogging challenges me to articulate my thoughts and beliefs in the written form. Which I love. It has driven me to study and really understand, to be able to clearly explain myself on some really important topics – here and in comments and discussions with other bloggers (love that!).
Anyway, I digress. Back to faith. Perhaps it’s a different definition for everyone. We can look to the dictionary, the Bible, the internet and to our own hearts. For me, faith isn’t something I’ve really thought about. I know what/who I’m faithful to and where that sits in my life. But I never questioned exactly what faith is.
Let’s look at some meanings/quotes on faith:
“Complete trust or confidence in someone or something” Oxford Dictionaries
“Isn’t faith believing, all power can’t be seen” Josh Groban – Lyrics – To where you are
“Faith consists in believing when it is beyond the power of reason to believe” Voltaire
“Faith is the strength by which a shattered world shall emerge into the light” Helen Keller
“Faith is not a thing to grasp, it is a state to grow into” Mahatma Gandhi
“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see” Hebrews 11:1 (NIV)
“The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It’s our handle on what we can’t see” Hebrews 11:1 (MSG)
Obviously for me, given that I’m really talking about faith in a Christian sense here, the biblical references are important. But I do love the quote from Gandhi as well. Faith is not a ‘thing’, I believe it is a condition of our spirit which can evolve and grow as we walk our journey with Christ.
I am going to define faith as:
“An inner attitude, a knowing, that comes from believing in things unseen”
I think there is genuine faith and empty faith. I think that faith and works are closely tied together. I also think that faith is greatly pleasing to God and is the essential ingredient that underpins our relationship with Him. I am going to explore these thoughts, and how they relate to me further, so keep an eye out for future post/s on this subject.
I’d love to hear your thoughts so far…