Faith Under Siege
Faith! We all have it, even those people who think they do not. We all have areas of faith where we believe implicitly in something, even if we don’t understand how it works. For example, I believe that my heart beating will keep me alive. I’ve studied a little biology and understand the rudimentary workings of the cardio-vascular system, but I really could not sit here and say, I can tell you exactly how it works, why it works, or what makes it start working in the first place.
Another example of faith is when we go to an airport or train station. We buy a ticket to a destination, and this small piece of paper tells us that if we go to a certain gate lounge or platform, that we will be able to board a vehicle that will take us to that destination? How do we know that flight QF692 will actually take me to Melbourne? I don’t! I also don’t know how the plane manages to get off the ground or stay in the air, or go in the right direction. But it does, and I have faith that it does, otherwise I wouldn’t get on it in the first place. Somewhere along the line, many of us have accepted, by faith, that God exists. Sometimes that faith is extended by varying degrees: God is our creator; God is our Saviour; God is our healer; Jesus is our Lord. There are many points along a faith journey for any one of us.
But of recent times I have noticed that my own personal faith journey has been under more fire than is typical. The usual suspects that tease our faith in God are: doubt, fear and disappointment. I’ve met these characters quite a number of times over the years, have taken on the challenge, and usually emerged more grounded in my faith than before.
Then I met a new customer in the ‘let’s-see-how-tough-you-are’ department. Betrayal. That was a goodie! I never thought I’d think things like: ‘I don’t care if I never go to church again in my life!’ Have you ever been in that place? It’s a bit deeper than the normal pot-holes we stumble in. But thank you Lord, with time and the love of a faithful God, I’ve found my way out of this cavern again. Phew!
But that’s not the full account of the attack armoury. There is something that has been around for a while, but I’ve been carefully cocooned in a strong faith environment, so its influence hasn’t really penetrated my thinking before. But having recently engaged in a secular study environment has awakened me to some new opportunities to regroup. Actually, the influences of Darwin, Freud, Nietschke and Marx have been out and about for over a hundred years, suggesting that it is all right – nay – sensible and beneficial to consider life on its own without God, Jesus, the Bible, or any other religious ‘crutch’. The message gradually seeped into our western society over the twentieth century – God simply isn’t there!
Those of us who have experienced God in more than an intellectual way simply can’t accept that.
But things continued to develop (or deteriorate, it depends on how you look at it). Post modernism has been making its push for the last few decades, and while I’ve had my head in the clouds, haven’t noticed that the philosophical atmosphere has changed again.
Actually, now, it’s OK if you believe God is there, BUT, everyone experiences God in his or her own way. Truth is relative, and no one can say what truth is or if it really exists. You are allowed to believe your version of truth, if you want, but you cannot say with any certainty that what you believe is true, because everyone experiences life differently.
Fantastic! If that doesn’t put your head in a whirl, I don’t know what will.
So my faith, that has survived all sorts of doubts, disappointments and blows, now has to face the prevailing attitude of the 21st century.
Now I have to stand at the boarding gate of my own faith flight and ask the question: ‘Is it safe to fly?’
Thank goodness, even philosophy allows that we experience truth through different evidences, and several of these evidences allow for faith: Revelation; Authority; Intuition; the senses and reason.
I have gone through my life’s time-line to my different points of revelation, and there have been about five distinct ones over the decades, and when I consider what was revealed to my heart at each juncture, I can apply all other aspects of reason, intuition and authority to it, and I find it to be sound and true.
There was a point when I had the revelation that Jesus was God and He loved me. I was four. Then the revelation that the Holy Spirit was God and He could live in me. I was eight. I was sixteen when I studied biology, and the very distinct and clear revelation was that God is my awesome creator. In my early adult years, I discovered by revelation that God was not just THE Saviour, but He was MY Saviour, and that I was as in need of salvation as anyone else (even if I have never robbed a bank!) There have been other points of revelation, and continuing journey that surrounds each one.
The point I would like to make today is: If you have found your faith under fire or worse, under siege, go back along your timeline and find those points where you absolutely knew – where God spoke into your heart in a way that was undeniable. Hang on to those points, and move on from there.
Author of ‘Cora Villa’, ‘Mellington Hall’ and many other popular novels.