We’ve all given up at least once, gone and sulked in our corner of the playground, taken our ball and gone home—every one of us. And we’ve all learned the very true fact of life: we cannot afford to give up because life overruns us if we do—yet at times we’re content with this actuality. We ‘can’t compete’ (apparently) so we don’t. And when we’ve had enough of coming last we finally wise up to the fact that life requires us to try.
And this is faith (variants include reliance, trust, loyalty, belief, confidence). Faith is trying—and authentically so—especially when we are up against it and we fear we’ll fail or the journey and hassle is too much for us or too much to bother about.
We see trust like this expressed in a person applying for a job they’ve already been filling very adequately as a temp for a long time, as they’re pitted against other hopefuls. Bringing the person back to the field in this way can easily throw them off, thinking in their pride, ‘I deserve that job on merit; why should I need to compete for it?’
Or it’s expressed in someone trying to lose weight; someone who’s never actually been successful before—or someone who’s failed repetitively. They’re so acutely self-conscious yet they determine to face the music one single hour at a time. That’s faith, courageous belief. To endure consistently without dropping their guard and to not allow upsets to take them off course mentally and emotionally, this person is showing a lot of faith; and resilience additionally.
No doubt, the people who’ve borne the pain of having lost loved ones, by the pure fact of that reality, generally have had to express much faith—though there are some who’ve denied the reality, though not very many. The ones in denial have chosen drink, a drug or some other inappropriate coping measure—that’s entirely how they got through. That’s the antithesis of faith i.e. denial. In their denial they rejected the ultimate pain reliever, faith. As pain relief it doesn’t work overnight but it does happen.
Finally, the person who’s diagnosed with malignant cancer and endures the dual modes of living hell—the conception of imminent death together with the seemingly endless visits of chemo and radio therapy—their faithfulness to their own bodies and their loved ones, to fight, without a choice; it is inspirational loyalty.
Faith is facing fact—the truth—and it is unhindered by the fear that the raw truth naturally intuits. Sounds like courage too, doesn’t it? Courage and faith a like twin sisters, one’s just a little more extraverted than the other; they both share a unique genome.
Maturity (of faith) is this: we take life on its terms alone, without complaint. We swim with the flow, no matter the tidal surges and calm exteriors. We take faith because that is all we really have; there is no other logical choice that compares. Sink or swim. It’s a bit of a no-brainer.
Faith is the rule of life. This is perhaps never more evident than in the peace that spiritual people (normally) exhibit as a matter of course.
Abiding by this sense of quiet unmistakeable confident belief is the only reasonable and sensible way of living. Comparisons with the alternative leave us all but convinced: go with trust—the easier hard way.
© S. J. Wickham, 2009.