Monday, July 20, 2009

True Faith

Maybe faith is like the game Mine Sweep - some choices are benign while others lead to death.
While the straight and narrow path is the most profitable - it is also the most uncommon.
But what happens when we stray from our most favorable path?
How do sacrifice, fasting and prayer work?
Do these actions eventually lead us back to our desired path?

I believe in knowledge.
I believe in skill.
But somehow, I believe more in the intuitive actions of faith.

Faith as an action?
Of course.
It takes the action of faith to drive someone to look beyond and strive for a life that is better than that of their surrounding environment.
It takes faith to believe in oneself when everyone else is telling you why something cannot be done.
It takes faith to endure when all hope is lost,
when all one's strength, knowledge and skill are spent,
when the only way to succeed is by going beyond all comprehendable human abilities.

I know, I know... this sounds like "endurance".
But endurance is a huge component of faith.
Endurance is required when the battle is at it's worst.
Endurance is required when all of one's natural abilities are spent.
Endurance is required to reach the supernatural state of performance that can only be sustained for short bursts of time.

Beyond endurance lies exhaustion.
The state of exhaustion leads the weak to faint.
But for the faithful - it becomes a state of euphoria.
A state of unconsciousness.
No, not a state of being unconscious, or asleep, or unresponsive - but a state of awareness so heightened that all of time seems to slow down.
A state of being that turns the largest mountain into a pebble - or a small baseball into a slow floating beach ball.
This is what happens when athletes are "In the zone", or when warriors obtain "Blood lust", or when the religious become enraptured in the spirit.
This is what happens when the stress becomes so severe for oneself that one must go beyond them self in order to perform.
This is what happens when marathoners are said to "have their legs running under them", or basketball players are said to be "unconscious" when every shot seems to be going in,
or when grandmothers can lift cars from fallen babies, or when we make counter intuitive decisions that end up being the only ones we could have made in order to succeed.

It is said that "Faith without works is dead".
I've encountered many people who have prayed from birth to death without receiving their desired request.
But this isn't God reproving their faith.
This is God reproving their lack of faith because they have not done the work required to be able to handle their request.
This is as though God were denying the keys to the Lambo to a four year old.
An immature individual may fast, pray and do all the good works they can manage - but if that same person can't handle their request, the responsible response from God would be to deny such a request.
Actually doing something about one's desires (making preparations to receive) is another aspect of faith.

But what of prayer?
Prayer puts one in the correct mental state to again begin the task of working towards one's desires.
Prayer allows one to focus on what is really important.
Prayer is the tuning of one's spiritual voice to again reposition oneself to be able to acquire one's desires.
Think of it as driving a car in the snow, in the rain, or on a dirt road.
When one begins to slide, they are advised to look in the direction that they would like to be going.
Because we instinctively (even if unknowingly) drive in the direction we are looking.
Kind of like look-e-loos running over police officers while staring at a wreck on the side of the road.
They don't intend to hit the officer - the officer just happens to be in the path of the driver's line of sight.
Prayer works by facing us in the right direction.

Actually, I don't have any real evidence of how faith works.
I don't have a theory or even a hypothesis.
All I do know is that faith is the first requirement for any form of success.
Faith is our starting point.


Anonymous said...

Well, it seems to me the faith you are talking about is really positive thinking. Positive thinking will get a lot of the same results you described.

I lost a child a few years ago. While he was sick, I fasted, I prayed. When the doctors explained his condition, I told them I understood them, but I also believed in the God whose name is Jehova Raffa. Darling, I had faith.

I would not say that God reproved my lack of faith because I didn't do the work required.

In the end, my conclusion was that God is still God, He has not changed. I don't know why. But the bible says that the secret things belong to God.

Positive thinking can get you motivated to do things.

But it is not the same as faith ... choosing to believe in the Word of God, and then believing in God when things don't work out.

uglyblackjohn said...

@ Anon - Believe me, this post is more of a question than an answer.
(Sorry to read about your child.)

I've lost many people in my life and I thank God for the opportunity to have known them for their short lives instead of cursing God for having their lives been so short.
This too is faith.

Sometimes it just makes more sense to wait for the next hourly bus than it does to chase after the one we've missed by a half an hour.

We could run after that which is gone,
or we can wait for the next option (learnig from and meeting people as we sit quietly or interact.).

Again, I'm looking for faith more than attempting to define it.