Monday, June 21, 2010

Faith and Fatherhood: Wisdom by the Water

editorial note:  this essay is based on some deep conversations I had recently with my own dad sitting on the beach.

Faith has nothing to do with religion, rules or ritual. It’s all about relationship. Faith is the belief that there is a benevolent Father who lovingly crafted a nefarious scheme to enable and entice you to live near him forever.
It makes sense that some people have more trouble with faith than others. Seems to me that lots of people get their ideas about God from the connection they have with their human father during childhood. Those who experience loving protection from a caring father figure have an easier time accepting the possibility of an ultimate Father with similar traits (to an infinitely greater extent). Those who lived with a distant, harsh or abusive father understandably find it harder to swallow this idea that God means well toward them.
“People do business with those they like and trust,” a wise man told me once. It’s not that faith is a business in the traditional sense, but it is couched in relationship, the business of the heart. Somewhere deep down, we all know we have business do to with God. He continually beckons us through beauty, creation, and divine inspiration. These are the “bait” he uses to assure us that there’s so much more where that came from. Unlike a fisherman who’s perfected the art of bait-and-switch, God makes good on these promises.
Here we are back at the faith crisis again. Can we take the risk of believing that God keeps his promises? How do we test the waters and see if this is a business we can buy into? We do business with those we like and trust. Do we like God? We like his blessings, his gifts, his art work, his provision and protection. But will he be there when times are though? If he’s so all-loving and powerful, why do hard times come at all?
Every father aches to watch a child hurt as a result of choices made, yet he must maintain a loving and genuine posture while the wayward child finds her sea legs again. He remains with open arms until she returns home.
We get to know and like others through conversation. Talking and listening, sharing what’s important, asking tough questions. Slowly, conversation by conversation, trust builds between Father and child. The end result is faith, the belief that a loving Father is there and will always care.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home