Just have faith.

How many times have we been guilty of this cliché? Myself? plenty. We utter and invoke faith when things don’t make sense and when we can’t explain something to someone. “Just have faith,” we coo, hoping that the band-aid will be large enough to patch the problems that fester below. We are certainly adept at tossing that word about, yet we have little idea of the appropriate use of faith or even the word “faith”. Take the circumstances of his birth.

So what is faith, anyway?

C.S. Lewis for me has been most enlightening. His basic premise is that there seem to be two kinds of faith. The first is the silly use as a bandaid to patch things that are asked to simply be accepted. The other is more profound. It is on this definition of faith that faith is considered a virtue.

An example of this is Abraham. Abraham is always lifted as an example of faith. But why? Ever since I was a kid, I just took this at face value and didn’t question as to why this was so.

Paraphrase: Faith is holding onto what you, by reason, already know to be true even when your emotions and immediate circumstances suggest otherwise.

Abraham knew beyond a doubt that God had told him that he would have offspring like the sands on the shore, and yet he was childless. He waiting 10+ long years. Surely during these years there had to have been days when the tent was just a little too hot, the bugs a little too annoying, the sun particularly irritating, the neighbor’s kids a little too loud, and God’s promise a little distant. And yet Abraham never stopped believing in the validity and truth from the Voice of Truth himself. That is faith. Not a nebulous kind of a groping, not an all-in-one cure for life’s troubles, but the certainty that the end is reachable and will be reached soon.