Finding faith in a time of crisis
By Myrtle Virginia Thompson
The 2020 pandemic crisis left behind a load of problems as it swept across our country. It also left people thinking about their faith. They recognized the need for help outside themselves.
“Believe!” “Have faith!” Two mantras we have seen or heard many times, but the words are meaningless unless there is a greater source to help us. In what or whom is our faith anchored?
“Keep the faith” sounds good, but keep what kind of faith? And in what or whom? Is it a generic commodity I unsatisfactorily used in a time past only to find I needed a different formula to help in the present moment? What is faith, and what key unlocks the door to understanding?
These words about faith were meant to encourage, but in difficult times, if my faith is only generic, it won’t provide the remedy I need.
So where, how, and in what way do we find the kind of faith we need? Thankfully, there is One Who can help us, but on His terms, not ours.
I started with what the Scriptures have told us about God. Mark 5:34 and 10:51-52 report that Jesus has shown Himself to us by faith in what He has said and done. He also promised none who come to Him will be “cast out” (John 6:37). I needed to draw my answers from the Bible’s well of authority if I wanted pure faith.
The word faith comes from the Latin fide, and its early significance was likely stronger and pregnant with meaning. Faith was “allegiance to duty or a person, fidelity to one’s promises, sincerity of one’s intentions.”
I checked the dictionary definition: “belief and trust and loyalty to God” or “belief in something for which there is no proof.” The writer of Hebrews says, “without faith it is impossible to please God.” People want proof. God is the One we find difficult to prove to others. The person who comes to God must believe that He will reward those who put their faith in Him alone, not in some power outside of what He has told us in the Bible.
We may pray and not get an answer, or not the answer we wanted, and then turn against God in unbelief. Isn’t that reducing Him to be only a servant? Making God in our image is idolatry. Believing in some kind of magical power we can command by our actions or words is of no value when we are desperate.
We exercise generic faith each day when we push a plug into a wall outlet. We expect it to work because of what electric wiring has made possible. We sit in a chair, expecting it to hold us because of its construction. It is “blind belief” based on experience, ours or that of others. We need to “believe” God and wait for His answer. That is authentic faith.
“Believe, have faith, and keep the faith” offer a promise to those who trust God for answers. The true God is listening, but sometimes we are not. The writer of Hebrews also tells us in time of need we can “come boldly before the throne of grace and mercy” and find help (Hebrews 4:16).
Long before COVID-19, James in the New Testament told us to cleanse our hands, and not only our hands but also our hearts. Listening, confessing our sins, and obeying are all needed if we want God to cleanse our land and stop this virus.
Myrtle V. Thompson, 92, is a retired missionary, writer, educator and Bible teacher. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.