Hope is the river you must cross. Faith is the bridge you cannot see. — Bill Purdin
Our neighbor died last week. She had been battling the cancer and like the insidious beast that it is, it finally took her away.
What I admired about her was her faith; she was a devout Catholic and never wavered from her conviction. That devotion sustained her all these months, days, and last minutes of her life. She died peacefully knowing that she was going to a better place.
Life is short, and can be taken from us at any time. My neighbor wasn’t old nor was she unlucky. She lived a full and wonderful life, had two great children and several grandchildren. And she was a fighter. When the beast first struck her over 40 years ago, she beat it back. Yet the beast would not be denied and finally won, but it took over four decades to achieve its success.
I have always believed in the power of God and the love of Jesus. I have always known that something more exist outside the physical world we see around us. Just looking at the stars tells me that. I’m not a Catholic but my belief is strong and unwavering. I just wish my faith was.
So what is faith exactly?
Ask various people and you will get various answers. I like the Biblical definition best:
Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
It is said that if one has the faith of a mustard seed one can move mountains. I believe that to be true. We look at individuals who are rich and wonder how they got to where they are. How “lucky” they were. Well luck had nothing to do with it. The major driving factor in their success was faith. It had to be.
Faith carries one over the rough spots, when everything looks bleak and the feeling that the world is against you. One could argue that this is hope but it’s not. There is a difference between hope and faith, as different as midnight and noon.
Hope, by itself, is a wish of wanting something to get better, but faith, faith is more. Faith is knowing without a doubt that things are going to get better. There’s no logical reason, no proof that things are going to get better, yet in the heart, your heart, you know things are going to get better. That knowledge, that belief then propels you to move forward, to do what is required to make your life better. But in order for life to get better something has to change, and that something begins with self. It always begins with self.
When one only hopes for things to improved, it never does. Hope is just a word we use to make us feel better, but feelings don’t make things better or enhance our quality of life. The only way for life to improve is to implement both hope and faith into life. But even then an ingredient is still missing. It is the vital element which makes life better, and that one component is one word: work.
Faith without works is dead.
The main problem we have in this country today is too many people have forgotten, or never knew, that they themselves are responsible for making their life meaningful. Politicians promise the moon and say anything to get it, all for the purpose of getting or keeping power. People have not changed much since the beginning of time; they still want everything in exchange for nothing. The attitude of many is: “give me, give me, give me because I want it, you owe it to me.” And politicians are more than willing to say yes to that attitude.
When we read about the “overnight” sensation we never read about all the hours of hard work, sweat, tears and years required into becoming the “overnight” sensation. Life is strange that way. You work and toil, you sweat and cry, you fail and pick yourself up and try again, all the while remaining nothing more than a nobody. Then suddenly, out of the blue, the entire world knows your name. You are an overnight sensation and your life quickly becomes a living hell. Why?
Jealousy. It is the only answer and all you need to know. After you “make it” you will be vilified and made to look greedy, selfish, and a person who wants to starve the poor. It’s not right; in fact it’s deceitful, but it is the world we created by voting for the politicians we elected.
However, you can fight back. Just as my neighbor fought the beast for over 40 years you can fight back with intelligence, determination, and most of all faith. The doomsayers and destructors of this world may try to bring you down, but they can’t. Only you can do that to yourself.
Yes my neighbor lost her battle but only in the physical sense of the word, never in the spiritual sense. Her bravery lives on even if her body doesn’t. But death is a fate everyone must share at some point, and it is a battle we will all lose, with no exceptions.
So determine now, make a choice now: choose to surrender to the forces that pressure you and live by their terms, or choose to fight them and live by your terms. You can fight these forces and win, and you can win because your faith, true faith, will always carry the day.