Friday, October 29, 2010

Passage on Faith, by Brian C. Taylor

The following passage on faith comes from Brian C. Taylor, Becoming Human: Core Teachings of Jesus. Someone shared it with me, and I'm posting it here because it seems to fit nicely with John's recent post on hope:

Faith is a matter of moving into a region where we are not in control and then trusting anyway. We do not know if things will turn out the way we envision them; we do not know if God will heal us physically, transform our failure into success, or make our problems go away. When we call upon God’s help, the only things we do know is that we cannot heal ourselves, we cannot make our failure into a success, we cannot make our problems go away. We also know, in faith, that God is good. These two things—our helplessness and God’s goodness—are the only things we know. They are the only things we need to know . . .

Blind to the future, unable to envision new life, we nevertheless step forward in to the unknown, holding God’s hand, trusting, like a child. It is the only thing we can do. It is always hard to do it; it never gets easy. But the amazing thing is, when we do this hard thing, there begins to stir within and around us a power that is not our own. Insights come to us. People around us shift their positions. We listen more carefully, and a way forward begins to show itself. A sense of rightness begins to strengthen in our gut . . .

All this takes place over a period of time, and neither its schedule nor outcome can be forced. We must settle into a reflective, contemplative time of listening, actively watching, waiting, being ready to respond. Having surrendered, having hit the limitations of our human capacity, we then must let go and let god. But this letting go and letting God is hardly passive at this point. Surrender to grace is not like surrendering in defeat. It is active, watchful, attentive, willing to be taken forward beyond the point where we are stuck. It is a state of expectation, where we invite God to become active in us.


Bill Lewis said...

"Moving into a region where I am not in control" and "Waiting without hope" could leave me in an existential funk. Loss of control and being hopeless are not enviable places to live.

However, being without hope in those things that I think are important might be very good. Also, not being in control when I really don't have a lot of influence over what goes on in the universe.

These can be especially helpful place to be if I can rest in the presence of One who is in control of the universe and the one who is deserving of all hope.

As I come off a very stressful two weeks, this is a strong encouragement to do my best, perform with all the gusto I have in life but leave all the results up to God.

Thank you all for encouraging me.

RC said...

Paul, thank you for sharing this excerpt. It has a lot of wisdom. I especially like this insight: "Surrender to grace is not like surrendering in defeat. It is active, watchful, attentive, willing to be taken forward beyond the point where we are stuck." I want to live a life that is surrendered to grace, one that exhibits the grace of God to others. This kind of community sharing helps me move more and more into that way being, I believe.

John Orzechowski said...

Paul, thanks for posting this and for introducing me to this author. The idea of "moving into a region where [I'm] not in control" and trusting in God anyway is a difficult one. I suppose that our feelings of control are illusory anyway, but there are certain times when this lack of control becomes incredibly tangible and threatening. I pray that we might always be trusting in God and give up our illusions of self-sufficiency and control.

Rehoboth said...

Quite often in the past couple of years I have had to move into a region where I am not in control, and trust. At any given moment, I think, we are possibly in a number of regions where we are not in control. It is uncomfortable at best. In fact, my illusion of having control in anything is occasionally shattered by the unexpected.

In fact, I believe I am coming understand that surrender is the only way to survive those regions.

Thank you for posting this, Paul.

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