What is “Faith?”

When I started this blog, my intentions were to simply focus on the medical issues that I was facing, and how I was dealing with them and the public healthcare system. Along the way I have ended up commenting on various other topics, and have occasionally interjected what some of my personal core beliefs are.

Let me make one thing perfectly clear, I am by no means or stretch of the wildest imagination a theological scholar. I cannot pontificate on the writings of Augustine or Aquinas. I cannot do an exegetical examination of some passage of Scripture. Nor do I wish to be held responsible for someone being influenced by my particular view of God.

With all those caveats in mind, I have discovered something about myself, and others. I have known many people, both personally and by reputation that deny the existence of God. They have pinned their hopes on scientific, empirical examinations of the world and universe, and have (in my opinion) falsely claimed that God does not exist. Perhaps it is in the hope of avoiding any judgement that may come at the end of their lives, or perhaps it is to justify their own desires and pursuits. But if all we have is the here and now of our existence, and after we die we are nothing more than worm food, why do so many seriously ill anti-theist cling to every breath they have? Would it not be better for themselves and society if they allowed themselves to die? Would it not release them of their pain and their burden on society?

I will use Stephen Hawking as an example. Here is a man who was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and has endured the disease since he was 21, he is now 69, and the longest surviving ALS patient. Hawking is noted for his terrific mind, and his ability to think beyond what most normal humans can only imagine. He has expounded on the “Big Bang” theory, advanced the understanding of physics and has gone so far as to say that there is no heaven, that it is a fairy tale. Hawking has stated that he is not afraid of dying, and yet he fights on to survive. Why? Is there some deep-seated, fundamentally rooted question in his extraordinary mind that make it so that he does not want release from the prison that is his own body? Only Hawking can say, and I won’t hazard a guess as to his motivation.

When I hear of scientist discuss the “Big Bang” theory of the beginning of the universe, and they say that there was nothing at first, then along came this cataclysmic explosion that brought forth all matter, and that over eons of time happenstance brought about the development of humans, I can only think back to Genesis. God created the universe out of nothing, ex nihilo. The “Big Bang” theorists tout how there was nothing, and then something. To me that sounds vaguely familiar. Ex nihilo!

But I digress as I often do. Without God there is no faith. Without faith man is nothing. It is faith that allows us to continue to strive, pursue and continue to grow. Those that put their faith in man so often find themselves left with nothing but emptiness. Humans can only achieve so much. Humans can only understand so much. Humans can only accomplish so much, and then we reach a point where our ability to comprehend is overwhelmed.

The atheist will say, that given enough time, man will be able to understand everything that exists in the universe. But there are things that are beyond our understanding. Why do negatively and positively charged particles in an atom not fly apart? Even a child knows that when you try to put the negative and positive ends of magnets together they repel each other. Why wouldn’t, why shouldn’t the same happen to the atom? It is due to a Creator that designed the atom in such a way as to allow opposing forces to stay in proximity with each other without destruction.

I do not wish to get into an argument about creationism or evolution, that is not my purpose. I do know that when you have a life altering event, be it an accident or illness it causes you to stop and think about many different things, one of them being the meaning of life, and God. During my two and a half score of years here on earth I have subjected my body to numerous abuses, and should have drawn my last breath many times over. Yet here I sit, alive. Some would just call it “luck” but I don’t believe in luck or circumstance. There is a reason for everything that happens, it is just that in our finite human mind we are unable to understand the infinite.

Which brings me back to faith. I have a deep abiding faith in God. I know that, for whatever reason, I have been given this illness as a gift. Not necessarily a gift I wanted, but a gift none the less. My illness has allowed me, no forced me to take a look at my life, and to pause. It has forced me to place my faith in something other than that which I can see. During my darkest times, whether they be physical, emotional or financial I have put my faith in God to help me through those times.

I once had an elder at a church tell me that I had a “gutter” faith. He explained that he wasn’t being negative, but rather amazed that, given all I have done and been through over the years, I held fast to a faith in a loving and merciful God. A faith that doesn’t ask,”Why me?” but rather says, “Why not me.” I don’t think of myself as a “fundamentalist” or “evangelical” but rather simply as one who, through life’s trials and tribulations, has learned to hold fast to the promise that there is a loving God, and that to Him each and every one of us is precious.  So precious that He sent His son to die for us.

As I wrote at the beginning of this post, I am not a theologian, I am not a Biblical scholar, nor am I a scientist.  I am simply a man who is working through his own problems, problems that often limit my body, yet allow my mind the freedom to think inward.  There was a time when I fought with God about what I was to do and where I was to be.  Like Gog in Ezekiel 38, God has put his hook in my jaw, and is leading me to where I am to be.  It’s not easy.  It took losing the one thing that I always counted on, my physical strength and endurance.  I can’t count on my body any longer, but I can count on God to get me through the problems, whatever they are, that I am having.  And to me that is faith.

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About Joseph Ordower

I'm a middle aged, some would say curmudgeon, who is sick, tired and truly frustrated with the way things are going in a country (America) that he loves, honors and respects.
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