"Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen." Hebrews 11:1 NRSV
I have been thinking a lot since I started believing in God again about the nature of faith. What does it mean to have faith? Before my crisis of faith I would have said that I just had faith. I felt faith. I 'just knew' things about God. Now my perception of faith is very different. Somehow it is in the doubt I went through, that I have really found faith. Experiencing doubt has helped me have faith. My faith is no longer a feeling. It is a choice. I can choose to have faith. I used to think that to have faith I had to be 100% sure of every thing. Now I see that it's because I am not 100% sure but still take that decision to believe, that leap into the unknown, that it is called faith. I'm struggling to put into words what I really mean about it. I like the this quote about faith and certainty.
"I have a lot of faith. But I am also afraid a lot, and have no real certainty about anything. I remembered something Father Tom had told me--that the opposite of faith is not doubt, but certainty. Certainty is missing the point entirely. Faith includes noticing the mess, the emptiness and discomfort, and letting it be there until some light returns."
That seems to make sense to me. Its like before hand my certainty was based on me, on the fact that I had faith,, I believed. Now it seems that I know nothing, but I take a leap into the arms of God, knowing nothing but that God will catch me. I still have times when I don't know if I believe really. But again I take that leap of faith into the arms of my loving heavenly Father. He catches me. But it is the leap into the unknown that makes it faith to me. If i was certain would it be faith? Somehow with faith like this, rather than being certainty it feels like it is more God based than Lynda based at last.
A friend of mine who is a Bible scholar tells me that he thinks the above translation of Hebrews 11:1 is the closest to the original Greek. I like the fact that it doesn't use the word certainty. As the priest said to Anne Lamott in the above quote, certainty now feels like the opposite of faith, not doubt. Doubt now seems to be a vital part of my faith. It makes my faith real.