The Mystery of Faith

Last week I returned to preaching after an unexpected week away. My wife, Dana, had a stroke in the early hours of the previous Sunday. Someone at church stopped to talk to me and said how moved she was that I still believed in the light of another struggle.

She is right, you know. Faith can be such a fragile thing. Our faith in others, in institutions are sometimes destroyed in an instant. For those of us who believe in God and who place our trust in our Divine Parent faith can be a tenuous thing.

Why do we believe – or don’t? Most people I know believe in something or someone. In God. In America. In science. In a spouse. In reason. In themselves.  I have read a number of articles that discuss this phenomenon (here’s a more recent one – Science Explains Why Our Brains May Be ‘Hardwired’ for God ). It seems to be human is to believe. The churches and mosques and synagogues of today are testimony to this reality but so are the cave paintings of thousands of years ago.

The question with which I wrestle at this moment of my life is why do believe? Why do I have faith – in God, in certain ideals and principles, in people? When I look at the world around me I see plenty of reasons to believe… and plenty not. When I think about the most recent years of my life and ministry, I have experienced the best of human beings’ faith… and the worst (at least in my limited and sheltered existence).  I have seen God in holy, precious moments. I have been stunned by events and actions that have left me, to be honest, all but bereft of that same faith.

So this week I am beginning a series of reflections on faith. I don;t think there were easy answers – or faith would be easy. I don’t think some of – many of – the trite answers we who believe give are helpful. So what does it mean to believe? For me to do so???

 

Although I am unsure he is  entirely right, here are some words from the venerable Thomas Aquinas to ponder:

 

“To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary. To one without faith, no explanation is possible.”

 

Categories: Faith Journey | 3 Comments

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3 thoughts on “The Mystery of Faith

  1. Brenda Jarvis

    Nicely done, Pastor Randy….

  2. Sandy Ralston

    Everyday to me unfolds a greater understanding of the existence of God. Despite the madness that can sometimes surrounds us there are moments that reveal God’s love. He, (God) has directed me and as well as family members to pray with strangers openly. We were asked to pray with someone in the middle of Cincinnati. On the way home from Washington DC we stopped at a Cracker Barrel. We were asked if it was ok to sit at a table in the middle of the restaurant. I said no it was not and wanted to sit elsewhere. We were moved to another section of the restaurant. A man sat directly across from us at another table. I kept looking up at this gentleman. I felt this man needed prayer. We finished our meal. I went over to this man. I said to him you look wonderful in purple and I noticed you said prayer before your meal. He said my name is Amos and I am fighting cancer for the third time. I asked are you in need of prayer? He responded yes. God directed me to Amos and together we said a healing prayer. Here is the real story of this encounter. I was doubting my ability as a Christian prior to meeting Amos. Amos was a blessing to me because God knew my heart. It is not in my nature to let others know how often we pray for others. I believe it is sometimes necessary to let people know that they are not alone in their struggles. Blessings to you Randy and your family.

  3. For me, faith is about the unseen. So many times we put our faith in things seen, our family, friends, coworkers and even strangers, at times. Only to have our faith crushed and destroyed. I have experienced many, many hardships in my life. I’ve always prayed and trusted in The Lord. Not while I’m entering the storm or walking through it. But, after the storm, I can look back and see that The Lord was right there with me. For me, faith is believing and trusting in the unseen. Yes, many things have happened in my life and I question them. I also know, I will never understand GOD’S ways, while here on this earth. I do believe I take lessons from my storms and they strengthen me. I also know, my storms have increased my faith in God.

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