Faith


Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”  –John 20:29

The story of the doubting Thomas is my favorite passage from the bible.  It was a favorite passage when I lacked faith because I was a Thomas who needed to see to believe.  I like it now because I have come to understand what Jesus meant.

Faith is not easy, not for a logical realist like me.  I attended a Catholic elementary school in Japan, but lost exposure to faith once I began attending public school in the United States.  Any child is influenced by his environment, but the secular atmosphere fit my way of thinking just fine.  I was never a dreamer but a pragmatist.  I may not have understood physics, chemistry or biology, but knew that those subjects were dedicated to seeking facts of this world.  My faith was in the knowledge of science.  I could observe gravity at work and understand the mathematics of Mendel’s laws on genetics.   Just like Thomas, I needed to see to believe, and science was something I could readily see.

Later years in high school, I gained faith because of two monumental events.  I care not to go into what those experiences were because I believe faith is a deeply personal experience between God and the individual.  What I’ve learned from that experience, though, is that faith is belief without seeing, or at least not seeing in the way that your eyes and your mind sees.  Ultimately, faith is a matter of whether you have it or you don’t.  To me, an argument about illogic of faith or rationalization for faith (“it’s a clutch for those who need it”) is as nonsensical as arguing about the logic of someone’s emotions.  Just as there is no right or wrong in someone feeling angry–after all, that the person feels a certain way is a matter of fact that you either understand or you don’t–faith too is something that can’t be explained with your mind.  Because of this, I love the phrase “leap” of faith.  It perfectly describes the way in which I had to overcome hurdles to move beyond the confines of pure logic (and emotions).

Faith hasn’t changed much the way I think.  I am still as logical and pragmatic as I was before I had my ephiphany.   I simply now view knowledge and science from a different prism.  I found this power to make my life more wholesome without changing how I am to be the most rewarding aspect of faith–and the most challenging.  The fact is that this world and the world of God are not necessarily in harmony.  Because I don’t struggle with dealing with the former, I struggle with understanding, absorbing and seeking the latter.  For the first couple years, this struggle consumed my efforts to develop faith, but I’ve come to realize that this struggle is something that I’ll be dealing with with the rest of my life.  I’ve found not only peace in this but also an indescribable sense of blessing.  Facing challenges to my faith is what makes me grow closer to God.  That I’ve found blessing in the struggle is an evidence of my faith, and evidence that it is growing.

I say that faith is a personal matter between God and me, but I also think the relationship cannot develop in solitary confinement.  I deem my relationship with God to be particularly personal–I don’t like to discuss to much how I believe in God and want to grow closer to Him–but I’ve learned I can only seek Him with the assistance of others.

Perhaps the most important fact of life that I gained through my faith is that God works through others in my life.  I consider myself extraodinarily blessed because I am surrounded by people, some of whom are not Christians, who have helped me in my journey.  I see God’s work there, and by “see,” I don’t mean the way Thomas saw but in a way only the faithful can see.  Boston College was not my first choice of college, yet that is where my faith, still in its infancy, really flourished.  In places where I’ve worked, I’ve had colleagues whose faith are stronger than mine kindly share their faith with me.  And while there are many friends who do not share my faith, this difference doesn’t hinder our relationship because they help me in ways they don’t realize and I get what it means to be a non-believer because I was one only a short time ago.

So this Christmas season, I’m thankful to everyone in my life, all of whom have helped me progress in this timeless journey. This, though, is something I should be thankful for every day of the year, every year. And I am.

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3 Responses to “Faith”


  1. 1 Chris Ratto December 24, 2010 at 10:16 am

    I agree with your comments.

    Sometimes it more about what you can’t see than what you can see. It is a lot easier when you can see things materially.
    I also think that God has a plan for everyone and even if you may not be where you exactly wish in life there is a reason for it. I have definitely become more spiritual because of friends who believe or do not. It is about the learning process of life.

    • 2 joesas January 10, 2011 at 8:31 pm

      Chris,

      I basically believe that I see, but I think faith has allowed me to see things that I used to not be able to see, if that makes sense…

      Having lived a mere 30 years, I do think God has plans. I think BC is a great example. That wasn’t my first choice of college, but I wouldn’t choose any other school if I were to do it again. And I didn’t. I went back for law school.


  1. 1 A Lenten Reflection–To be More like Christ | The World According to Joe Trackback on March 27, 2017 at 12:57 pm

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