August 24, 2011

New Column: Finding Faith

"Finding Faith" is my (mostly) weekly column in the Union Springs Herald. I write about life, faith, hope, grace, and whatever else may be storming around my brain. I am archiving the columns on a new page here at Incarnatio and tagging them with the name of the column. Here's the first one from a couple of weeks ago.

That's What Faith Looks Like

Faith is a buzzword in our culture. From political campaigns to professional sports, we hear about faith in a variety of venues. But what is faith? And what does it mean to have faith?

It's easy for me to mistakenly think of faith as simply a matter of agreeing with a certain set of beliefs. But faith is not mere intellectual assent to a proposition, though there are certainly specific beliefs that define different religious traditions. Faith is much more than that, though. For the Christian, faith is a matter of trust. Faith is trusting Jesus to do for me that which I am unable to do for myself. It is a matter of confidence in Christ for forgiveness and salvation.

One morning not too long ago, I walked into my toddler son's room to find him on the changing table with my wife tending to him at his side. When he saw me coming toward him, his eyes lit up, and he gave me the kind of look that warms a daddy's heart. In an instant, he was standing and leapt from the changing table into my arms.

I spent some time that morning reflecting on that moment, and it occurred to me that in that instant my son did not question whether his father would catch him. He did not pause to consider whether or not I would be there for him. The thought that he might fall to the ground never entered his mind. In the joy of the moment and with full confidence that daddy's arms would be there when it mattered, he simply jumped. And that's what faith looks like. Faith is confidence that the arms of Jesus will be open to us when we leap to him.

Now this does not mean that faith is irrational. When my son jumped into my arms, he did so on the basis of an established relationship of trust. He knew that daddy had always been there when it mattered. A track record of love formed the foundation of his confidence. He leapt without fear because he knew that daddy's love would ensure his safety.

Throughout scripture we find God's track record of love and faithfulness. God has never broken a promise. He has never gone back on his word. And he has demonstrated his faithfulness most perfectly through the gift of his presence in Jesus Christ and in his Holy Spirit. He is present with us in times of joy and grief. That is a God who can be trusted, a God in whom we can be confident, a God who is worthy of our faith.

Whether through TV, radio, or some other medium, it probably won't be long before you hear the word faith. My hope and prayer for you is that the next time you do hear about faith, your thoughts will be drawn to the God who is worthy of your confidence and who can always be trusted. 

Originally published in the Union Springs Herald on July 29, 2011.
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2 comments:

ἐκκλησία said...

Matt, does your column appear in a 'culture' section of your local paper, or does your paper have a section devoted to 'faith' (or religion)?

Are you able to gauge it's reception; do people write in, responding?

It's wonderful you're able to do this. (You may have shared that particular anecdote with us before, methinks.)

Well done.

Matt O'Reilly said...

Thanks for your kind words. I think I did share the story here before and then revised it with some extra reflection for the column.

There is not a specific religion or culture section in the paper. It's just in there on p. 4. As far as I can tell, it's been received fairly well. Or, at least, the people who don't like have yet to clue me in.

Again, thanks for your kind words.

Matt