Archive for April, 2012

The Living Faith

I am often overwhelmed by the options in the universe. There are billions of ways to live a life and perceive the world–no wonder my generation remains so indecisive and unfocused. I miss the days in my childhood where the world seemed so simple and linear. That abruptly changed for me one pre-teen summer when I became aware of death as a reality that everyone must face. Knowing this fact made me consider what comes next after death (I suppose I preferred to think that souls are eternal). Contemplating the many possibilities of what could happen was making me more and more uncertain about anything else except that death was fact. I knew that whatever I would believe would happen after death would inevitably change the way I see everything that happens before death–causing everything I previously perceived about life and the afterlife come into question.

But I was a Christian and knew that I shouldn’t question God’s word, yet I did anyway. I laid awake for hours every night travailing over these questions. What I didn’t know then is that questions like those are essential to building a stronger faith. When I thought I was destroying my faith with these questions, I was really making it more alive. My favorite theology book, Faith Seeking Understanding by Daniel L. Migliore, states in the first chapter that the Bible is not an easy answer book. If it were so, it would be a caged system where our creative souls would become stagnant and stale. But, oh, is the Bible full of imploring, terrible questions! On the cross Christ obtested “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” To his disciples he asked, “Who do you say I am?” In the Book of Psalm, David pleaded, “Why LORD, do you stand far away? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?” Migliore writes “When faith no longer frees people to ask hard questions, it becomes inhuman and dangerous.”

Thomas, one of Christ’s disciples, is nicknamed by many as “Doubting Thomas” because he wanted the hard evidence that Christ was risen. Christians have often rebuked this way of thinking and have scoffed at Thomas for centuries over his little faith however he was making clear that our Lord and Savior is indeed risen. My Christian faith may not look like anyone’s I know, making it difficult for me to find a spiritual community, but I can’t deny the questions I have. I can’t pretend these questions aren’t real or to have answers. Frankly, I doubt I’ll ever find answers for my endless questions, but Christ didn’t ask for that anyway. It’s not about our deeds, knowledge, or intelligence; it’s about our faith. Death is a reality for faith, too, so by relentlessly pursuing hard questions we keep our faith alive.
On Easter we celebrate new life, rejuvenation, and of course, Christ’s resurrection. Wouldn’t it be fitting this season to freshen stale faith with crisp and budding questions? Faith is risen when we implore and it grows as we become challenged.