What is Faith?

Is faith

a lofty pragmatism
a one-time-buy insurance policy
a spoiled child
an “I asked once don’t make me ask again”

Or is faith

an ocean tide
an interminably persistent sibling
a ceaseless alarm
an “I know you hear and you better believe I’m not going away?”


 

Yesterday I spent six hours talking about prayer with some friends.  One of them brought up the parable of the persistent widow:

1Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. 2 He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared about men. 3And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’ 4“For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care about men, 5yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually wear me out with her coming!’ ” 6And the Lordsaid, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. 7And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off ? 8I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:1-8)

Since then I’ve been thinking about this.  Maybe faith, “being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1), is a little bit different than I’ve always thought it was.  I used to think faith meant if I had a strong enough feeling of conviction I could ask one time and have confidence that God would answer.

I don’t necessarily think that He won’t answer after one prayer.  I just wonder if maybe faith is more a confidence that enables me to keep following after God, keep entreating Him, with relentless tenacity despite hardships or seeming lack of response.

What do you think?

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About A Daughter's Story

I'm an author and a teacher exploring the world and the stories and ideas it holds.
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4 Responses to What is Faith?

  1. I like the comparison to an ocean tide. This is a thoughtful and helpful post.

    Like

  2. Kelvin says:

    Hmm, a brilliant article I ever read. In my understanding the problem lies on faith and its misuse, let’s say it’s perfectly fine for a Christian to make a prayer expecting instant results, another area that needs clarity is an additional invocation and misuse of Mark 11:24 where Jesus basically says that if you believe when you pray you already received. The misunderstanding here is that if you believe when you pray you will receive it within a day or week, however what Jesus says is true, you can not receive unless you believe. So the scripture you quoted above is misunderstood by suggesting that prayer=faith, but biblically a continuation of prayer to get God to do something is a faith continuation, to believe that God exists, have confidence in his word and that he rewards those that diligently seek him. Imagine if the Widow went on and on bothering the Judge but without confidence, according to the word of God, she would not have received. It is also for a similar reason that Christians regard Mark 11:24 as a magic formula to instantly provide for them what they are looking for but this is not the case. Another helpful way to look at this is that Faith does not have a timeline regardless of how much you prayed or believed but in the end you shall receive because God said so. Amen

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  3. Pingback: What is Faith? | Christians Anonymous

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