Sunday, June 2, 2013

The Strange Power of Faith

Faith is a strange and powerful thing. Its power flows from its weakness. I have faith in things that are not proven, maybe even improbable. But they are also the most important things. They are the things worth believing most.

What do I have faith in? God. Love. God is love, so both go together [1]. Is love probable? Is love viable?

Has love ever built an empire or has warfare? Does love stimulate economic growth or do competition and self-interest? Does love maintain international peace or does a balance of power, realpolitik? Does history prove out the politics of Jesus or of Machiavelli?

Why put faith in something so improbable as love? Love means vulnerability. Love is a risk. It may not succeed. Yet the apostle says "love never fails" [2]. What a strange and powerful testimony. Faith in God, faith in love requires passion, requires unflinching commitment. It is a choice. Faith is a decision to take a risk. And it is the courage and tenacity to take this risk that gives you the power to come off conqueror [3].

It is in faith that I make the decision to love people. Not just love in the abstract, but love of real people with all the risk that comes with those relationships. Every relationship, every person I encounter is a risk, requiring faith. Why do this? Why believe it? It is because I "desire to believe" it [4]. It is because it is "delicious" to me [5]. It is because I choose to discover something unique and exhilarating in each person. I believe that this is the kind of life worth living. It's the kind of life I desire to live.

This is the strangeness of faith. If it were something certain it would be stable but it would not be vibrant. It is because it is uncertain that faith is passionate and active. It is not an objective fact presented to me, a passive observer. By faith I must actively take the Word of God and plant Him in my heart and allow Him to change my nature [6]. I have to participate. I have to take a risk, make a decision and choose love, choose God. The truth I hold in faith becomes my own and by making it my own it changes me into something new [7]. And that is strangely powerful.