by Dennis Foust
What is the origin of faith in a human life?
Does every human have the capacity for faith?
How does faith emerge within our lives?
How does faith integrate our disjointed lives?
We are often too busy to consider these questions, although they are at the root of our life experience.
Faith is God’s gift planted within the soil of every human life. Faith is that gift that enables each person in every culture the capacity to relate with The Living God. However, just as one of Jesus’ parables explains why God’s message cannot take root in some lives, in like manner some lives are not fertile enough to allow the fruits of faith to grow. Some lives are like the hardened soil of a path, some lives are like rocky soil, and some lives are similar to soil that is encumbered by thorns. In Ephesians 2:8, we find Paul explaining, “For by grace you have been saved through FAITH, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.”
Faith begins to break through the soil in our lives when we express awe. As we open our lives to experience Transcendence, we are astonished and faith emerges as reverence and wonderment.
One of my favorite stories explaining this aspect of awe is the record of President Theodore Roosevelt often taking his staff outdoors after they would discuss global issues into the late night. He would look into the sky until he could point out to them the galaxy of Andromeda. Then he would say, “That is the spiral galaxy of Andromeda. It’s as large as our Milky Way and is only one of a hundred million galaxies. It is 750,000 light-years away from this place where we are standing. It consists of one hundred billion suns, each one larger than our sun.” After that explanation, Roosevelt would smile and say, “Now I think we are small enough, let’s go to bed.”
Our lives are multi-dimensional. You may be familiar with the Wheel of Life. Like a pizza cut into several pieces, you must tend to your health and wellness; your personal growth; your family members, friendships, and broader social life; your vocation; your finances; your safety and security; your hobbies and entertainment; and your investments into building a better world. Despite our best efforts, we can become disjointed, perplexed, and muddled. If we do not tend to this disorganization, life unravels to the point of disintegration. Faith is God’s gift that integrates our living. Using the pizza analogy above, faith is the pizza crust which is the integrating factor underlying every piece of pizza. Our faith integrates each dimension of our lives.
Next week, I will offer some thoughts about How Faith Grows. Between now and then, I invite you to reflect on this thought: A tiny seed grows to eventually bear nourishing fruit and beauty when it is nurtured by good soil, water and necessary nutrients as it reaches toward the light.