I know that the sun will rise tomorrow. With all of the scientific facts and astronomical data we are blessed with today, I can expect to wake up tomorrow and see rays of light emitting through my window. There is also no debating time. Our clocks, both digital and internal, will continue to function in their typical cycles under any given circumstance. These are only two of the many inexorable certainties that we experience in life. These proven facts in our daily lives, however, are limited.
There are things in life that we cannot physically see or explain, but choose to believe anyway. When our little siblings place their fallen teeth underneath their pillows, hoping to see a winged fairy deliver gifts in return, they are relying entirely on an unproven belief. When students choose universities to attend, they do not know what the outcomes of their decisions will be, nor can they predetermine their futures after school, but continue to grow and experiment with life anyway. Even the wisest of theologians and clergymen have very few answers to the questions pertaining to God’s existence that enter our minds on a daily basis. All of these situations represent a feeling that we all hold onto so dearly: faith.
Faith alone offers no guarantees. Faith is not the proof of our beliefs, but rather the hope that what we choose to believe in is right. While the proven theories in life can only extend to a given limit, the world of faith is truly endless. This sense of hope is also the foundation of most religions; it brings people comfort to believe in some greater force in the world, even if it will remain unseen forever. When a religious institution is filled with people who are gathering to believe in something greater than themselves, there is a sense of unity and humility felt in that environment. And with that unity, there is a reliable community, built and sustained through a common faith.
Unlike the established certainties, faith can be expanded, tested, or even demolished. Circumstances in life shake people; those victims then only want physical answers or just comfort—two factors that faith alone cannot always supply. It is not easy for a family of three, twelve, or even seventy-two to continue believing in an ominous theological being after experiencing a loss deeper than words. It is not easy for anyone to attend a synagogue, church, mosque, or any community of faith after having his/her own faith threatened. The moments in life where we struggle, doubt, and search for deeper meanings in our respective religions, however, is when our faith shines through the strongest.
During the times of hardship and grief, many refer to the book of Tehillim (Psalms) in order to reconstruct their connections to God. Psalm 25 encourages us to believe in something greater than ourselves, or God, at all times. This verse inspires us to preserve hope, or faith, in a greater power and in a brighter future. By putting our trust in theology, or by keeping faith, we are opening ourselves to a world of fatality, community, and most importantly—strength.
In some cases, faith has been taken to the wildest extremes. Radical thinkers have disgraced their respective religions through their actions or words. There are faithful people who choose to jeopardize others in the name of their own faith. As a socially progressive society, it is truly devastating to witness an abnormal number of deaths pertaining to religion. Fortunately, faith is not limited to those mindsets.
In most of the other cases in life, faith has inspired the skeptics and the spiritually weak. For many, maintaining a faithful lifestyle and mindset has ignited the utmost mental strength and optimism. While adapting such an outlook on life does not limit its endeavors or accidents by any means, keeping and sharing faith only alleviates the intensity of those given situations. With a solid faith and an open mind, we can change the world.
It takes true faith, or hope, to continue praying at the times when we have lost everything. It takes undeniable strength to not only recognize the proven facts in life, but to believe in them as well. It takes a community of faith to believe that the sun is still shining, even when it is not seen in the sky. It is also our obligation to take those unseen rays of light and spread them to communities that mourn in darkness. There is no doubt that time will continue to pass before us; that is a certainty that will never fail. It is what we do with that time, however, that defines where we stand in our faith. By living with a sense of hope, we can encourage others to approach the highest and lowest points of life with trust in both God and the importance of a community.
So from now on, I will continue to wake up each morning with not only the awareness that the sun has risen in the sky, but also with the faith that it will continue to shine through any storm.
“Oh Lord, I set my hope in You; my God, in You I trust,” – Psalm 25:1-2