WHAT IS FAITH?
By Trish Overby
Have you ever considered what faith is? Or what process we go through to believe in something or someone? Are you aware of ‘faith’ or belief in your everyday life? Think a moment about the next breath you take. Are you sure there isn’t anything in the air you intake into your lungs which might damage your health? Surely, if you look around your environment, you can’t see or smell any gas or fumes that might harm you. If you did smell something, it would register as possibly something you have smelled before. Only if a new smell was found would you perhaps be a little worried. Would you ever consider this to be ‘a leap of faith’? To continue to take each breath and fill you lungs with air which your body needs.
Or consider it’s a Monday morning and you’re on your way to work in a car, bus, or train. You are just about to go over a bridge en route to work. Why do you believe the bridge will hold the car, bus or train on its journey across it? You would probably respond, ‘well, the engineers and building contractors have gone over the specifications before building it to measure how much weight it would hold and how many vehicles could cross at a given moment. Then the builders would make sure all the iron/steel/concrete were the best quality for these specifications to use. The builders would make sure that their construction workers were skilled enough to rivet the girders together to keep the strength specifications or pour the concrete at the right temperature for the foundations. This is why I believe the bridge is going to hold my car, bus or train on the way to work. Because I believe in the integrity and character of these engineers, contractors and construction workers in doing the best job they can.
Well, to me this sounds like faith! You have faith in the characters and reputations of all the people involved in designing and constructing the bridge. Even though you haven’t met any of them. You might ask me, “What does this have to do with God?” Isn’t that what you were asking about what is faith for?” Yes, it is but don’t you see that believing in God is the same thing as you mentioned about the people who constructed the bridge. Having faith in God is believing in His character and what that means to each of us personally. You might now ask, ‘how can we know His character?’
We can find out God’s character through a book that was written many, many years ago. It’s the Bible-Old Testament and New Testament. In it many men and women had real everyday dealings with God and His Son, Jesus. The very beginning of the Old Testament talks about the creation of the world and of man. (Genesis. 1) If you look at verse 26, it says, ‘Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness…”.' God created not only the world we live in but he created us. Why did he create us? He created us in His own image, after His likeness so He could have a relationship with us. So if you compare this type of relationship with a family relationship-he is our Father and we are His children, sons and daughters. As an earthly father loves his children so very much to provide their worldly needs of food, shelter and clothing, so does our Heavenly Father desire to look after us as His children. This is the characteristic of God-a loving Heavenly Father who sees and feels what we do.
But is He reliable for me today? Can I really put my twenty-first century faith in Him? Well, I think even more so as our world is changing so very rapidly-for better or for worse. As technology keeps changing and improving our quality of life, this allows us to have more time to ponder our world around us. Let’s ask ourselves honestly what do we believe in and why do we believe it. Are we basing our faith on an institution or on the character of someone? We have seen over the years many institutions and religions come, change and go. But the character of our Heavenly Father doesn’t change. He is our eternal Father and as the men and women of the Old and New Testaments were able to put their trust in him back then—so can we now in the twenty first century.