Recently a friend told me about a trip she had made a few years ago to a country in Europe. She thoroughly enjoyed her sightseeing. However, she was dismayed that so many of the small old churches were no longer open to the public. Fortunately, sometimes she could find a caretaker who would let her inside to see chapels where her ancestors had worshipped. She was told that many churches today have too few parishioners to contribute to the maintenance of the old buildings and too few members to attend a Sunday worship service.
C. S. Lewis wrote, “There is but one good; that is God. Everything else is good when it looks to Him and bad when it turns from Him.” He also said, “Human history is the long terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy.” Lewis’ statement seems to be corroborated by the fact that twelve-step programs to overcome addictions include coming to believe in a higher power that can give the needed strength for recovery.
By its very nature, faith is difficult to explain or justify to nonbelievers, which is probably the reason that analogies are frequently used in the discussion of faith. A friend once asked me how I could know there is a God and how I could know I had faith. I told her I know it in the same way I know I love my husband, my children, and my grandchildren. Love, like faith, is something you can’t fully describe. We don’t dispute the existence of love because of that. Nor should faith be dismissed because it is in an internal knowledge.
For me, faith is a choice. It is a choice to acknowledge a divinity who knows more than I do and in whom I can put trust. It is a choice to rely on One who can give me strength and courage and assistance. It is a choice to recognize I am not the ultimate authority on anything. It is a choice to judge according to higher God-given truths and standards of behavior and thought. It is a choice to be dependent on God. It is a choice to recognize that the unseen can be more important and satisfying than the tangible.
There are numerous faith traditions; their worship and beliefs are not all the same. Yet almost all of them encourage us to be better, to be more than we are by ourselves alone, to serve one another, to persevere in difficulties, and to trust something we cannot see.
I think I was born with faith. Being a woman of faith in God is who I am; it directs everything I do or think or believe. It is therefore difficult for me to understand how or why someone would attempt to navigate this crazy world without faith. I have dear friends who have chosen to do so, however. Even as challenging as it is to maintain faith in some circumstances, I think it is so much more difficult to proceed through life without the calm and assurance faith brings.
My life has been richly blessed by observation of the exercise of faith by many people. Women especially seem to have a gift of faith and a willingness to exhibit that faith in their daily activities. In the past two years I have seen evidence of faith to be healed from the ravaging of COVID. I believe faith in God can heal our communities and families in additional ways as well.
A final quote from C. S. Lewis, “God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing.”