faith-obstacles-in-lifeFaith. What is it exactly? Where does it come from and why is it so important to so many people? I thought a lot about faith this past weekend as I was putting together my sermon for the First Church of Chestnut Hill. While preparing, I came across this great Patrick Overton poem. He reflects in his poem “Faith”:

When you come to the edge of all the light you have
And take the first step into the darkness of the unknown,
You must believe one of two things will happen:
There will be something solid for you to stand upon,
or you will be taught how to fly.

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you did not know what the outcome would be or how you were going to get through it? We have all been there. Am I right? Many times in our lives we are faced with the unknown, the uncertainty of a future that we cannot see. But how can we have faith that it will all work out?

A lot of people would love to answer your questions for you. However, what they will give you are their answers. “We will tell you what to believe and how to live. There is no need to bother with seeking, searching, or with doubt. We know the answers and we will give it to you.”

Does this sound familiar? In our ever-changing, stressful  world, this is very seductive. But is that faith? Can answers given to you by someone else stand on that brink of darkness, looking into the unknown?

This is how I view faith:

have faith

To me, faith is my bridge through the unknown; my walking stick through a dark wood. It leads me because I allow it to. I trust that it will take me where I need to be, even when I am not sure of that next step. And many times, I’m not sure of that next step. But that trust is there.

Think of a time in your life when you are faced with a question and the answer to which changed the direction of your life. Questions like:

  1. “Where do you want to live?”
  2. “Will you marry me?”
  3.  “How shall we break the news?”

We love the sense of adventure that comes with questions like these, yet we cling to the security of answers when we are facing the horrifying unknown. However, we are often faced with these questions that demand our response without really having a clear answer of how to react or proceed.

For me, I have learned to live in the question. To live in the “What if?” When I feel scared or have doubt, I ask myself, “What if this could work out perfectly for me,” or “What if this is the path I should take?” Once I feel comfortable with the “What if,”  that is when I become a little more direct in my communication; that is when I begin to ask for what I truly want out of the situation:

  1. I want to be loved.
  2. I want this opportunity.
  3. I want our family to be at peace.

Our faith is only as strong as our relationship with it. That takes trust. Without taking steps to build that trust, it can never exist. And the steps do not have to be big. Small movements forward, are still steps forward.

If you are interested, here is my sermon from yesterday for you to check out:

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