The Reasonableness of Faith (Part 1 of 3)
From A Way of Life: Understanding Our Christian Faith
[Excerpted from A Way of Life: Understanding Our Christian Faith, Anthony J. Chvala-Smith, Herald House, 2019, pp. 30-31]
For I the Lord love justice, I hate robbery and wrongdoing;
I will faithfully give them their recompense, and I will make an everlasting covenant with them.
Their descendants shall be known among the nations and their offspring among the peoples;
all who see them shall acknowledge that they are a people whom the Lord has blessed.
I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my whole being shall exult in my God;
for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation, he has covered me with the robe of righteousness,
as a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
For as the earth brings forth its shoots, and as a garden causes what is sown in it to spring up,
so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring up before all the nations. -Isaiah 61:8-11
It is hard to imagine human life without the experience of open-ended trust. Faith makes us fully human, capable of reaching into the unknown, in delight and wonder, in fear and uncertainty. It makes love and even science possible. For at the heart of life’s deepest encounters of love, thought, creativity, or service is a fundamental trust in the goodness of reality. Often we nurture this conviction despite events or understandings to the contrary. Trust survives in the most appallingly evil human conditions… It exists in life’s most sublime and beautiful occasions… it is found in the daily struggle of family and work. Our humanity is a profound mystery, yet the human story reveals how our capacity to trust is essential to our existence.
Faith in God shares much with these common human experiences. It, too, is a kind of open-ended trust, a yielding to the unknown in love and wonder. But in Christian terms, faith is not simply belief in an otherwise-absurd idea. It is not holding an opinion that a being called “God” exists. …Faith in God, however, is far more radical. It touches the very roots of our personhood, stirring and unsettling us to our core. God as the mystery within and beneath all the mysteries of the world invites us to trust in the divine self. The invitation confronts us as ultimate because it calls us to entrust our whole self to the mystery. At the same time, in the presence of this mystery our humanity is elevated by a deep desire to yield ourselves fully, in love and trust, to what is good: indeed, to what some thinkers have called “goodness itself.”
Faith in God is not a simplistic answer to life’s dilemmas. Nor is it agreement with a list of ideas. It is, rather, a way of life. This path involves giving our whole being…to the mystery of God in an ongoing process. Faith draws on all the resources of our humanity, including our intellect. Thus faith in God, like our human experiences of trust, is not in any sense “irrational.” In fact, to be grasped by the infinite Mystery the Christian path identifies as “God” brings an ever-deepening meaning and rationality to the story of our lives. Faith in God becomes a new voyage of discovery in a vast uncharted sea, while giving our humanity an inexhaustible point of reference.
Let your world of beauty capture me.
Growing a Gracious, Generous Heart
Open your heart to God’s grace and generosity with a “breath prayer.” Let your breathing slow and deepen. Be aware of God’s breath moving in and out of your heart. Spend several minutes focusing on breathing in God’s generosity. With each breath, silently name one gift for which you are thankful. Let your heart expand to contain God’s gracious outpouring of love. With each breath out, name one gift you want to share from the overflow of your heart.
Today’s Prayer for Peace
Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.