Friday 12 September 2008

by the fireplace: faith

Psalm 131:1-3

O LORD, my heart is not lifted up, my eyes are not raised too high; I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me.
But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother; my soul is like the weaned child that is with me.
O Israel, hope in the LORD from this time on and forevermore.

What faith is this that makes one hope where no hope is humanly possible? What faith is this that makes one hold on to dreams that are rapidly slipping away? And yet while the mind cannot fathom, the heart still believes. Or tries to.

I have been somewhat randomly following the story of Yi-Jien’s disappearance (for want of a better word) through the online news and Karcy’s blog. I don’t know why I care, really. I barely know him. My personal contact with him probably consists of an add on Facebook, and the furthest extent of our contact was through the now-defunct Phases Mailing List. Maybe as Karcy mentioned, “I also don't know why I'm so upset about Yi Jien, to be honest. There are a number of people I know who have passed away. Some are closer to me. I could move on easily. Maybe it's the missing business. Maybe it's the uncertainty of knowing whether God is in charge of all of this, if He's just leading us to false hopes, or if He is real at all.

It’s this absence of closure. I don’t know what it is between me, faith and closure. There’s this constant tension that wants any evidence, even a body, to finalise things. And yet it seems that there are too many people who have had (or said they have had) visions of seeing him alive, that the faith part rises hoping that he comes home alive, to prove yet again that our God is real. But will it really make any difference to me?

Taking it nearer home, there are things that I am hoping, wishing and praying for. At times, I have faith to believe that it’s right, that it’s time, and that God will grant me what I desire. At the same time, I have this niggling worry that I am wanting something that isn’t God’s best – that I am rushing things, or grasping at straws. And yet I don’t know. I’ve placed my heart too far into a situation that I know only time can tell. Still, the promise of His faithfulness is there, and I know through experience that as long as I bide His time, I will emerge unscathed. Maybe not “untouched” in a sense, I know that if it doesn’t come true there will be disappointment and hurt, but not shattered.

Maybe that’s what surrendering to God really is about. Taking your hopes and dreams and putting them on the line with God and telling him, this is what I’m hoping for, but it’s okay if You don’t grant them because I know what You have planned will be way better than this, and then watching as He takes what you’ve given Him and shapes it into what He wants to give you.

So what faith is this that makes one hope where no hope is humanly possible? What faith is this that makes one hold on to dreams that are rapidly slipping away?

The faith that comes from knowing who your God is.


  1. The faith that comes from knowing who your God is.

    hmm...but if we do know who God is through and through, then isn't faith no longer needed? We wouldn't need to have faith if we know what God's plans are would we?

    For me, faith would be trusting something that you DON'T know of your God. Acceptable?

  2. I think knowing who God is doesn't equate to knowing God's plans. Like you can know your friend really well, but you aren't going to be able to predict his every move and decision, right?

    What I mean is knowing His character, i.e. we know that He is good. We know that He is faithful. we also know that He has good plans for us (even if we don't know WHAT it is), therefore, because we know all this about Him, we can have faith that whatever He has promised us will come true, even if it seems impossible.

  3. hmm...yeah...but I would say that you're talking more about trust then about faith...

    TRUST: firm belief or confidence in the honesty, integrity, reliability, justice, etc. of another person or thing

    FAITH: unquestioning belief that does not require proof or evidence

    do you see the difference? what you're saying is that we can trust God based on His character but not neccesary have faith in Him.

  4. well, sorry if I am so semantically challenged, but if you parse it correctly and take in the context (context, baby, context) I'm not talking about faith IN God, per se.

    So maybe I'm generalizing too much, but I'm looking at having faith in the impossible (see earlier paragraph about hope where no hope is possible, holding on to dreams that aren't coming true) and how this faith comes from having a basis of trust in who God is. This doesn't negate the "unquestioning belief without proof or evidence" because there is no proof or evidence that the hope / dream will come to pass.

    And yes, it's true that you maybe able to trust God based on His character, but that doesn't equate to you necessarily having faith.