“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”
– Hebrews 11:1
Every single morning around 5::00 a.m. without fail our beloved pooch, Cowgirl, gets up from her doggy bed, stretches and shakes, then with a loud whiney yawn she puts her front paws up on my side of the bed and begins nudging me with her nose. It’s as if to say, “We’re burning daylight, time to get up!” Cowgirl, you see, is a living testimony of the definition of faith. She is sure of what she hopes for – that is, our early morning three mile jog – and certain of what she does not yet see – that is, some sort of excitement out there, another dog, a stray cat, or a squirrel darting across the street.
You know the feeling. Remember when you were a child and your birthday was approaching, how you would be excited and anxious at the same time? You were sure there would be a birthday cake and some other special treats, but you were also certain there would be surprises. Faith is like that, sort of a combination of assurance and anticipation, a conviction based on past experience and an expectation there will be even more to come. Cowgirl wakes up every morning with that assurance we’ll go for a jog because it’s part of our routine, her past experience, but also with the anticipation that there will be surprises along the way. It doesn’t always happen that way, of course, but what a great way to live!
Faith is often too narrowly defined within the context of religious belief. But it is much more than that. Faith, rather, is a response to God, an affirmation of the amazing abundance provided through His creation. It is about seeking and discovering knowledge, value, and inspiration from our experiences. It is responding to God by accepting his invitation to participate in the process, to be creators ourselves and offering our creations as gifts back to Him.
Simply put, faith is about being sure and certain, but with room left over for surprises. That’s the way dogs and little children understand it anyway, and I think they’ve got it right. What a great way to live!