What is faith?

Faith.  The very jewel in the heart of our existence.  Its presence or lack of – that defines our existence, the path we choose to tread and the goals we reach for.

In very simple terms, we understand faith as belief in the unseen. For me personally, faith is my belief in the one sovereign, almighty God who sent His only begotten son, Jesus, to earth to sacrifice and die on the cross for our redemption.  And that Jesus rose again and defeated death.  The power and love of God!

Faith — the conviction that love triumphs over hate and indifference, light over darkness, good over evil.

Faith – belief in things unseen.  Yet, I see God in the myriad of manifestations in the world/universe that He created.  Simply put, I see Him in the beauty of the flowers in the garden outside my window, in the strength of the trees with their overarching branches outside my porch.  I see Him and hear Him in the laughter of children riding their bikes on the street, in the hummingbirds circling the buds on the camelia plant outside my patio. I see Him in the glow of a moonlit night as I gaze through my sky roof. I see Him in the faces of my loved ones. He really is everywhere.  So how can I not have faith?

The whole wide world is rich in faith, if only we recognize and receive it.  It’s there, and it’s freely given.

This Sunday morning, I came away from a Zoom worship service of the Peninsula Bible Church in Palo Alto, very much inspired by Pastor Paco’s teaching on faith.  He cited the patriarchs of the Bible, Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, though far from perfect, were men chosen by God to figure prominently in His divine plan.  They were men of faith,  Paco’s expository started with his sharing of his own dreams, aspirations to be “someone” great.   When he was a little boy, he dreamt of being a “Michael Jordan”.  That dream of being a basketball star faded with the harsh reality that he couldn’t be one, as do many of our creams. Then he pursued another dream to be a notable baseball player.  That, too, faded. Over the years, he remembered a conversation he had with a sick grandfather who prayed for Jesus’s blessings for his grandson.  That was a dream that Paco now fully embraces as a pastor of high school students.  A man of faith.

The fading of dreams does not diminish hope and promise,  Hope and promise are always there, maybe not recognizable at first, but nonetheless there, waiting to be claimed.  With faith, trust develops and grows, and with that, we reach for the promise.

Faith deters despair.  When we do not achieve our dreams, we get up from initial disappointment and while clinging to our faith, continue to dream and strive, maybe in the same direction or in another, trusting, hoping and strengthened.

Paco’s teaching was so timely for me.  Here’s my writer’s confession — recently, I felt deep disappointment short of despondence.  I had been overly ambitious over the third book in my book series “Something Curious”.  A fantasy tale took roots in my envisioned project for a series.  My published “Something Curious Book 3, Stratucopia” was essentially the background and introduction of characters in the series.  Well, perhaps prematurely, I pitched the story to a producer for animation or film feature.  Disappointment.  The negative feedback outweighed the positive – not enough conflicts, not enough action.  Bottom line: rejection.  Perhaps, I approached the wrong expert.  The story is a family/kids/fantasy tale, not an action drama.  Nonetheless, it was premature, I realize.  I crept into my cocoon, just for a little while, just for a bit of self-pity. A scourge to my self-esteem – my product wasn’t good enough.  I wasn’t good enough.

But faith is a catharsis.  Faith pulled me out of the temporary rut and gave me hope.  Hope keeps me going.  And something else besides hope – gratitude for the gift of enjoyment of writing.  Thus emerged the determination to plug on.  I am continuing the sequel to Stratucopia.  Where this leads me all depends on God.  But I shall continue trying – meaning writing.  Because I trust, because I have faith.  If all I get is the enjoyment of writing from this effort, then, that is the reward.

I have not lost the dream for my series, however.  It’s still there.  But whether the dream comes true or not, is not my prerogative.  After all, I delight in the process.  I think that’s faith.

So, what does faith do to me?  Faith builds the courage to keep on, in any endeavor, trusting, hoping for the good, reaching for the promise.  Yes, the promise is there, maybe packaged in a different way.  But it’s there, because God is.

Faith is in the heart – or better still – faith is the heart of life – for the greater promise.

Linda P. Jacob

I welcome your comment -- feel free to share the post.