By Karen R. Trifiletti, FaithCounts.com Contributor
“Faith is taking the first step on a stair when you can’t see the whole staircase,” said Martin Luther King. We have faith each time we turn on a light or get into a car, start work or begin an exercise program. Faith affords us the chance to grow, step out and carry on, whether or not we believe in God.
What does faith afford each of us? And what does it afford me personally as a Christian? For many of us of different backgrounds, faith brings peace, power, possibilities, provision and purpose. Here’s how:
Faith affords peace. Not external peace—the kind signed off by countries after war. It’s more than a truce or a single moment of quiet. It’s super-natural—a gifted inner assurance and calm even amid the cacophony and cadence of modern life.
Thich Nhat Hanh, a Buddhist monk and peace activist, said: “How do you want to create [world] peace, if there is no peace inside yourselves?”
Psychologist Jennifer Harshen speaks to the correlation between faith and contentment, peace, and happiness.
“We know that spirituality is something that really helps people feel like they find that higher power, they find that center, that groundedness, that can be anything for anybody,” she said. “We know meditation, mindfulness — all those kinds of things help change our brain chemistry, help us be less depressed, less anxious, and more centered and that is all good for all of us.”
This peace is real. It’s not marked by an absence of difficulty, but it occurs in the midst of it; it’s subjective but so tangible.
Many who don’t believe in God have that faith and contentment in knowing that whatever the pixel of the present, there is a bigger plan, a larger universe that is ordered and abundant and to which we can meaningfully contribute.
We talk of “the Force”—Star wars-ology is rampant, and for good reason. Perhaps we all sense a power we can access, though we may call it differently. Some believe that there is a higher being with actual power that we can tap into, through our faithful living. Others find added strength and power to rise above the daily grind because their beliefs help them step back and see things with a clearer mind, a fresh perspective.
Faith lights up possibilities like lightning does the sky. From agnostic to Eastern practitioners of faith, from atheist to Christian, many and most among us believe in our ability to progress and of the great possibility within us. Faith opens up our potential and possibilities. That’s promise. That’s glorious.
Faith permits me to believe wholeheartedly in provision—a provision of strength and comfort and grace, moment by moment or day by day. It does not always mean that what I expect is what comes, but it does mean that what I need will come, often in unexpected ways.
My faith affords me purpose. When I was without it, I felt I lived “pragmatically” but not “coherently” (as Ravi Zacharias differentiates it). I wasn’t alone apparently, since 63% of over 700 polled by Gallup indicated that their faith provides meaning and purpose for their lives. Even on Faith Counts, many who responded personally to the question, “What does your faith mean to you?” said it provided meaning and purpose beyond the moment.
My faith affords me peace, power, possibility, provision and purpose. What about yours?