How can I live a life of faith?
When we live in faith, we are, in a sense, living in God. Whether out of desire or desperation, we enter a space where normal human logic simply doesn’t work. Like astronauts orbiting the earth, we feel strangely out of place, but never more at home.
Faith does not require that we ask no questions or that we adhere to a particular creed. It does not eliminate the need for study or rational thought, and it doesn’t promise that we’ll never feel insecure. What it does demand is that we willingly live with paradox and tension—with the possibility that our deepest knowledge of God will come when we are ready to give up this knowledge altogether.
Ultimately, faith rests on our consent to being held by the gravitational pull of God. We can break away if we like, but our hearts will know that this is where we belong.
Lots and lots of people hate the story of Abraham taking his son Isaac up Mt. Moriah to kill him at God’s request. It seems cruel and nasty of God, and it’s hard to imagine how Abraham could have thought of complying with the request, even though God stops him before the deed is actually done.
This is a story from about 2000 BC that was passed down orally for centuries, and I think the original hearers heard different things. The purpose of telling this story is to show the incredible faith of Israel’s founding father. It’s a story that speaks of a test by God, which should clue us in that God never had Isaac’s death in mind. This is a test of Abraham’s faith.
It’s easy to get caught up in debating whether God should be doing such testing, but I think those discussions are missing the real truth in the story. This is a story of what it means to be completely faithful. It justifies God’s selection of Abraham as the person to take the word of God out to all nations, and his faith is touted throughout the millennia that follow.
Abraham puts God first…above everything else. We saw that he put God above himself when God first asks him to leave home and go to an unknown land. This is the ultimate test. Will Abraham put God’s desires before his only son? It’s not just a question of a father’s love for his son. Isaac is more than that. Isaac represents the promise of God to bless Abraham and to bless all the nations of the earth through him. Could he give that up? If he can, God can use him.
The question the story asks of us is, “What would stand in the way of my obedience to God’s commands?”
—The Rev. Anne Robertson
By offering yourself to God. Ideally we do this day by day. But sometimes we can't. Sometimes it is just too difficult or we are too distracted by all that is going on around us. At those times, we ask God to be patient with us until we can get back to offering ourselves to God.
I have a good friend who is a monk at a monastery in the middle of a large city. One day a woman was walking by the monastery. The monastery is enclosed so that all one sees is the chapel and a fence that separates the monastery from the outside world. On this day the woman saw my friend sweeping the steps of the chapel. She stopped and said, "You know, I have lived in this part of the city for years and have passed by this monastery for years, and I have always wondered about it." Pointing toward the cloistered buildings, she asked, "What is it that you all do in there?" He looked at her with the kind eyes that he has and said, "We fall down and we get up."
That is what the life of faith is about. We offer ourselves to God, for the glory of God. And we fall down and we get up.
—The Rev. John B. Fritschner
Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch."— Luke 5:4
An exhausted body and empty net were Peter's only results after toiling all night. Tired and spent, he must have felt somewhat annoyed with Jesus' request, "Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch."
Peter had to learn how to live on the edge of miracle. When our lives feel fruitless, when we are too tired to trudge on, when our problems seem too complex, Jesus calls us to step into a place of faith. To "put out into the deep…" To trust even though we cannot see. To believe even though we cannot plan, control or manipulate circumstances. To become so vulnerable that all could be lost. To rely on Jesus even when sense becomes senseless, and meaning becomes meaningless.
Most of us would rather have the path clear before us. We would like to know how it’s all going to turn out. We would like to know what steps to take to achieve our purpose or goal. But that is human cleverness, not faith. To see miracles, we need to put out into the deep, spread out our nets and see what God will do because we have trusted.