Making Our Way in the World Today (2/4)

silhouette of plant during sunset

My favorite definition of faith comes from the late pastor R.C. Sproul who described the virtue as “well-reasoned trust.” I like that because it tethers our beliefs to reason. Only a fool believes that for which he has no reasons at all. But faith also transcends reason.

You likely put your faith in people who have given you good reasons to do so. You trust them. But your trust leaves room for them to disappoint you, to hurt you even. You don’t know with absoute certainty they won’t betray or abandon you. Yet you have faith. In the same way, you can’t rationally prove God’s existence beyond any reasonable doubt. Faith is required for trusting people and God alike.

In the last post, I said that faith gives us roots. If we refuse to trust anyone in this world, we will never thrive. Like tumbleweed, we will nowhere be at home. C.S. Lewis said it best in his description of the heart that refuses faith in others:

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”

While reason can help us find a place of safety, trust is that next step that leads to vulnerability. It lies beyond what we can rationally defend. It’s where we move into the unknown in the world, believing, trusting, walking, not always knowing where the next step will land. Some will land wrong. Some will fall on sturdy and level land with a slow and steady ascent, leading to higher ground. Like all things, it will be a mixed bag.

Our walk of faith will not be without missteps or suffering. But still we must carry on. We can’t run from hurt forever. It’s faster than us and refuses to be outpaced. Faith is the way forward, the way out of shame and isolation. Onward!

Life beckons. So, faith — in God and others — is a gift we have been given, a virtue to cultivate, that liberates us to move and love in a world filled with both pain and pleasure. While yesterday might be marred by despair, tomorrow can always been seen with optimism when viewed through the eyes of faith. So, take that next step forward in faith with God and others. The chance of pain pales in comparison to the glories that await. Indefinite incredulity has never really been an option anyway.

Part One

Part Two (Faith)

Part Three (Hope)

Part Four (Love)