I know faith is something "good" that should "work". But why isn't my faith "working"? Why does it constantly get trampled by pigs, stolen by thieves or hijacked by lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh or the pride of life? Where is my hope anchored? And why doesn't it hold?
I feel as though I've lost the "essence" of Jesus, lost the very point of His coming, of religion, of faith. Sometimes I'm tempted to think religious tradition is just a myth, just an elaborate human yarn that reaches back too many centuries to even remember how or where it first began. Why do we tell stories? And how do we know the ones we've heard are really true?
Does my faith only depend on what I've been taught? On what I've heard? Does it depend only on someone else's interpretation of scripture, of doctrine or life? Or is faith... MY faith... something more internal & personal? Does it depend on something more than the written word or the spoken tradition? Does it even depend on more than my own senses, feelings (or lack thereof)?
I've found myself wondering what the core issues of belief actually are, especially in light of organized religion. What am I missing?! Certainly there must be a center to this nebula of differing opinions, expectations & constant failure.
So I prayed about it. And the 1st thing that came to mind was the famous verse at the end of 1 Corinthians 13- the one that talks about faith, hope & love... "and the greatest of these is love". Honestly, that answer seemed kind of cheesy to me. I mean, how many times does a Christian hear about love in their lifetime? Love has become some innocuous word that can mean anything you want it to.... kind of like tofu. Yet out of love- true love- springs forth hope. And from hope, comes faith. Paul said the greatest of the three was love. Not surprisingly, he also lists love as the first fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22. Without love, it seems, everything means nothing. I am nothing & I gain nothing if I don't have love.
I began to realize that my problem isn't necessarily faith... My problem is my tofu love... its so easily moldable, crumbled or flavored by any hand & season of life & consequently, easily devoured. But true love is more substantial than that. You don't have to water it down or flavor it & it doesn't leave you feeling famished later on. Or so I've heard.
Love, it seems, is a word I tend to subconsciously pass over. Even telling someone I love them feels kind of strange & empty sometimes. I think I love them... of course I care about them deeply. But when I observe what love actually does to other people, I have to ask... what has love done to me? More specifically, how has "love" for God changed me or anyone else?
Maybe it hasn't. Not really. Because maybe it wasn't really love. Am I rooted & grounded in love (Eph 3:17)? Maybe that's why my faith doesn't work so well, or why my hope tends to drift off into oblivion.Go figure.