A Year of Faith

By Joe Antus

August 20, 2013

A Year of Faith

Faith is a concept that we sometimes struggle to fully understand. We recognize that to have faith in someone or something, it requires a certain kind of belief on our part. By giving an object our faith, we not only demonstrate that we believe that it is in some way good & worthy of our faith, but that it is dependable--we must trust it.

For many of us, this is where we begin to associate faith with risk. As humans, when we trust another person, there seems to be risk involved. We risk our hearts: “will this person hurt me or help me?” We risk our pride: “is this person worth trusting? What if I misjudge their character or their intentions?” We also risk our independence as we trust a person with a part of our lives: “does this person now have a power or type of authority over me?” These are only a few reasons why faith & trust can be so hard for us... it seems to risk much of our identity & security.

Seemingly, our faith in the Lord is not an exception. As humans, giving God our faith means that we believe he is good & that he is worthy of our devotion; it also means that we are willing to trust his character & his intentions for us. That seems risky.

However, there is a difference between trusting the Lord & trusting other things apart from him. Trusting other people or things apart from God asks us to wager our identity & security on the hopes that they are faithful. What trusting God requires us to do is be vulnerable.

When we fully align ourselves with God & seek oneness with his Spirit, there is no identity or personal security to risk because it is found & fulfilled in God alone. He has secured our souls, our beings. What we “wager” with God, then, is our comfortability & our control. Risk tends to imply that we may be lead astray into things that aren’t good... it implies that we may be worse for wear after opening ourselves up. The vulnerability that the Lord asks for promises us that we will bear fruit, realize gifts, grow in maturity, become sanctified, transform to Christ’s likeness, & develop oneness with the Spirit. He calls to us, “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me (Revelation 3:20).” Our vulnerability leads us to encounter the presence of God & our “risk” begins to look more & more like surrender to God’s loving goodness.

It seems then that the call or challenge is not to take “risks” in the traditional way we understand them. Instead, it’s to continue to understand ourselves as the individuals members of the body that God made us to be; it’s to trust his design & to surrender our pride & our control. Lord, the things we wager are not ours to begin with as you hold everything in your hands. Help us as we open our hearts, become vulnerable, & discover our place in the body. As we encounter & develop faith, help us share it with others so that they too may grow. And give us grace as we journey to become whom you’ve meant for us to be. Amen.

In this Year of Faith, let us remember that faith is not something we possess, but something we share. Every Christian is an apostle. -- Pope Francis

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