I’ve been thinking about faith today. Some think of faith in God as a crutch … and I agree that certainly God is one to lean on. I love that old hymn … leaning, leaning, leaning on the everlasting arms. I can’t imagine tackling the challenges of life without His help … without the confidence that there is someone bigger than I am, smarter than I am, someone who really is in charge … since one of the first lessons of life is that we have little control over our next moments. I don’t believe faith is “just” a crutch … it’s much more!
Faith makes sense in my world view … I believe in a Divine creator … who not only made the heavens and the earth, but who made mankind … for the purpose of fellowship with him. I believe that this earth is not our final destination. I don’t understand the plan entirely … and that’s OK with me.
The poet writes below … of one with great faith … and another who is struggling with faith. Faith never means freedom from pain or difficulty … faith simply means that the pain and challenges must have a greater purpose. Someday we will see the “big” picture!
You have said that there is not a fear
Or a doubt that oppresses your soul,
That your faith is so strong
That it bears you along,
Ever holding you in its control.
‘Tis a comfort to know there is one
Whose allegiance cannot be denied,
But I fain would enquire,
(For your faith is far high’r
Than is mine): Have you ever been tried?
Have you sought to aspire to a life
Higher far than the one that is past?
Have you laboured through years,
By your hopes crushing fears,
But to meet disappointment at last?
Have the friends who should love you the best,
In your absence forgotten that love,
And refused to impart
To your grief-stricken heart
All the solace their kindness would prove?
Has the world misconstrued your intents,
And endeavoured to sully your fame?
Has the venomous tongue
With its calumny stung
Your proud heart, and dishonoured your name?
I desire not to “chide” you nor “vex,”
But I ask you to answer me now;
Did the torturing pain
Of a love that is vain
Ever furrow your heart like a plough?
Have you loved with so fervent a love
That, when failure and hopelessness came,
All the torments of hell
In your breast seemed to dwell,
Scorching courage and faith in their flame?
One of these may have fall’n to your lot;
What if all were apportioned to me?
Could I then “lift my head,”
Nor a single tear shed?–
Has such faith been allotted to thee?
I have sought to be true to my God,
I have sought to be faithful as you;
But such “tumult and strife”
Have embittered my life
That I am not so faultlessly true.
~ W. S. Skeats
To the poet I would say … God understands our questions and doubts. He is big enough to handle them both! Bitterness is a nasty root … entangling the mind and heart … and letting go of bitterness is one of the most freeing … most difficult … most liberating actions!
I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” ~Psalm 91:2