Faith is not having answers to all my questions about God. It’s more about having unanswered questions – even lots of them – and being able to live happily with the messy mystery that goes along with our friendship.
My guess is that most people tend to think that the person that sees the most miracles is the one with the “biggest faith.” Those with “Super Faith,” argue that the best Christians are the ones with the most answered prayers. These really good Christians recite the right words in their prayers, believe the right things, and get the best results. But to my mind, the most mature faith is the kind which trusts God when you don’t know what’s coming, and don’t claim to know. Faith is when we don’t know what God is going to do, but we know that he knows what he’s doing!
In the past decade or so I’ve been musing of a faith that is more of end in itself than a means to an end. This kind of faith is not primarily what I do to get stuff from God but what God gives me to deepen our friendship. Faith isn’t so much a tool that helps me get what I want; it’s how, from my end, our relationship works. He’s good and when I trust him as “good” we get along quite well.
Whether or not I get the help I ask for, I trust him more than I used to. I’m closer to God and enjoy him more when I trust him for who he is. My faith in him isn’t as utilitarian as it once was, it’s how I relate to him. If it’s true that “Without faith it’s impossible to please him,” then the converse is also true, that when I do trust him, I please him – and that, serendipitously, brings me pleasure.
I’m sure the Lord was pleased when Job said, “Though he slay me yet will I trust him.” In other words, “Even if he doesn’t answer my prayers for relief, but instead gives me something that I don’t want – like slaying me, for instance – I’ll still trust him.”
No doubt my faith would grow if he made all my problems go away, and of course I do pray that he will. But trust seems to grow best as I wait peacefully. I do have confidence in his capability. In a way, that’s easy. All I have to do is gaze at the night sky and observe that he is capable of the impossible. Even a non-Christian theist believes that God (whoever he might be) is capable of great miracles. But you have to know him to appreciate that he is a God of great character. The better I know him as he is; the strain of trusting him diminishes.
I think he likes it when I place my confidence, not only in his indomitable power, but also in his impeccable person.
“To be perplexed, and yet not be discouraged, is what I call the opportunity to be hopefully mystified: to embrace uncertainty as the necessary space required to trust God.” Sam Rockwell