“Faith is to believe in what we do not see, and the reward is to see what we believe.” So said St. Augustine long ago and as I have not come across a more succinct, direct formulation, I continue to quote this.
If fear is sometimes acronymed to ‘false expectations appearing real,’ then perhaps we can call faith something like, ‘full and intimate trust in Him.’
One advantage of approaching the so-called golden years of life, now certainly being approached by my baby boomer colleagues, is that a body of evidence has been compiled that, if put to good use, can be a true source of strength and, shall we say, faith.
We were told that once the guru grabs hold of the disciple, it is as when the mother holds the hand of the child. There is no question of her letting go, or of the guru letting go. Yes, our free will remains a factor-perhaps mostly in terms of how long it will take to get ‘the job’ done-but that the job will get done is a certainty.
My life has been saved more than once, potentially catastropic situations have been avoided too many times to remember and, to this day, blessings abound to me and to family members that can be attributed to nothing but ‘acts of God.’ Certainly specifics can be noted, and often the day-to-day so-called miracles manifest, but the point here is that when repeatedly ways have been cleared, obstacles removed and results emerge that had little likelihood of manifesting, the ‘hand of God’ can be seen and experienced with even the smallest of effort.
For skeptics, agnostics, atheists and for those of us normally among the believers but who temporarily may be going through something akin to a ‘faith crisis,’ let us say the following:
Faced with the choice of believing or not, believe.
Faced with the choice of being positive and hopeful, or negative and hopeless, choose the former.
If when walking along the road of life, you stub your toe, be thankful you were walking and that you have toes.
If, in short, you are faced with the existential choice of seeing the glass half full or half empty, know with all your being that it is indeed half full and that if you don’t see it that way, you are simply wrong or in a funk.
Our minds are terrible things to waste, but at the same time, they can be quite tricky. Throw in our unconscious and subconscious behaviours, and tricky graduates to downright difficult. Add past karmic debts and we might excuse ourselves for being something less than magnanimous at times.
But do we doubt the Divine’s ability to raise up even the wretched among us? Do we doubt the Divine’s strength and compassion when it comes time for Him to forgive our past and present misbehaviours?
In short, it comes down to faith in the Divine. If we feel we have been selected to do His work, who are we to doubt, who are we to be falsely modest or immodest, who are we to doubt His belief in ourselves?
Fear, indeed. Yes ‘false expectations appearing real.’ But they are false and they are not real.
So give them their due, if you must. But know that you need not do this. It is not part of the contract. You do not need to draw the jail card; you can go direct to Him who has chosen you, bow down and say, ‘Thank you,’ and then get to work. There’s no time like the present!