Reason to Believe

People search for hope.  The desire to be confident in and of something runs so deep that we can see hope where none actually exists.  Perhaps it is that we create our own desired realities, and the enemy of needed change can be unfounded expectation.  I look to find a reason to believe.  The question for me is not whether I have confidence in other than myself, but whether that belief has a substantial basis and is reasonable.  By definition, faith is ethereal, but does that mean it is beyond verification by any means?  If there is evidence, is it evident to all or do personal experiences play a part in whether or not I trust a belief system unconfirmed by the scientific method? 

Since I brought it up, I have an observation or two about science and learning.  The state of knowledge today is the state of knowledge today.  We tend to speak of science and information as if they are fixed things.  Untrue.  We all know this, really, but our humanistic world places great confidence in the latest findings.  Discoveries are being made all the time, and there are things once held true which today have been proven to be false.  It is for this reason (if no other) that we cannot place total confidence in science or its method.  Because something is unknown does not mean it is untrue, and unrecognized beliefs will hold sway in eternity though they not be admissible in court.

It is easier to believe in youth.  As adults, our minds become cluttered with useless information and broken dreams.  We become crass and implacable, unable to overcome our pasts and seldom yielding our points of view.  It is hard for a weathered warrior to learn to trust, but in the pure, halcyon days of youth, when the world is fresh, it is easy to hope and to dream.  That is unless the darkened world of the elders intrudes before its time.  In the days of my youth, it was easy for me to grasp the truth that a God Who cared about the world existed and that He cared about me.  My childhood was simple compared to the frenetic families of today, and in that simplicity God spoke to my soul.

As a child, I went to church a lot.  As it’s more natural for a person to rely on things with which they have familiarity than otherwise, I developed a world-view based on the teaching I received in worship, small groups and related events.  That trust was confirmed as I saw answered prayers, conversions to faith and the workings of God in my own life.  Faith is received initially as an outside expression but is validated from within.  The comfort and security found in a solid church experience promotes belief in the unseen, and this belief pleases God.  Our conceptions do need examination as we grow and learn, but a foundation of faith is extremely important as life is essentially spiritual in nature.

Hope is at once verifiable and unverifiable.  It is a wonderful thing- maybe the best of things.  While it can be misplaced, it is validated in experience and will either deepen or die.  If a person listens to God, they will find that His teachings are true.  Life is confusing, and people frequently have difficulty in establishing firm footings.  Most that develop faith in God do so before the age of twelve.  While understanding is incomplete in youth, faith does not have to be mature to be real.  Jesus Himself said that childlike faith is the only saving faith.  Strong and delicate at the same time, hope is confident expectation that yields fruit in its season convincing us that we had reason to believe.

Sterl      

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