The readings this Sunday all have something to offer concerning the meaning of Faith. Hebrews offers one of the most profound and beautiful descriptions of Faith found anywhere in the Bible: “Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and the evidence of things not seen (Heb 11: 1-2).” Reality takes on a radically new appearance when seen through the eyes of Faith.
The parable Jesus tells offers an insight into what it means to have Faith during those times when God seems absent. The foolish servant in the parable represents the person without Faith; once the master leaves it is as if he was never there and is never coming back. Therefore, anything goes, including the mistreatment of those under him in the pecking order. For the person without Faith, those times of unanswered prayer or terribly unfair treatment or prolonged suffering become the proof of God’s absence in the world and in that person’s life. Despair or cynicism lies at the end of that road.
For the person who has Faith, the reality looks entirely different. Like the servant in the parable who is ready to serve his master whenever he returns, because he knows he will return, the person of Faith when faced with the same trials may be confused about many things but is certain of one – God is present. Therefore, whatever may lie ahead, the person of Faith will not be travelling alone. The question changes, from “Where is God?” to “How is God making him/herself known to me in this particular time?” What a vastly different approach to dealing with difficult times comes from asking this question.
Maybe you know the story about the two frogs stuck in the bucket of milk, kicking their legs in a vain effort to leap out? The one frog despairs, falls back into the milk and drowns. the other frog keeps kicking, until the milk is churned into butter and he is able to hop out by leaping from the firmer surface.
What’s your story of Faith?
Jim Philipps (3rd millennium pilgrim)
(To read more of my reflections on scripture, check out my books at www.twentythirdpublications.com)