Faith In a New and Difficult Year

We now come to a new year, 2009. I wonder how long it will take me to stop writing 2008 on checks. It is a year of uncertainty – much more so than in other years. The economy is in bad shape and it appears that it will still get worse before it gets better.

People are losing jobs. Retirement savings are substantially shrinking. I suppose the idea of converting Social Security into self-directed savings like 401(k)s is a dead idea. It was never a good idea to begin with.

But we are people of God. We live by faith and not by fear. God loves us and cares for us. That does not mean that God will prevent any one from a layoff notice. God will not magically reverse our retirement account losses. Because then it would be magic and God doesn’t do magic. God never tries to trick us. Still, God suffers when we suffer. God wants to comfort us when we are down.

We have faith the sun will rise in the morning. We have faith that we will be around long enough to make reservations at restaurants, theaters, sporting events, and the like and actually show up.

Faith is a disposition toward God. Studies are indicating that all human cultures are drawn to someone or something outside of ourselves. This begins at birth. Infants and toddlers easily believe there is an unseen, powerful, loving person somewhere close. I think that as some of us get older, we have trouble reconciling this innate belief in a supreme being and all the messages we get to rationalize the world combined with our inflating egos that we know everything so why depend on someone else, especially someone we can’t see. (I think that sentence is as a long as some of St. Paul’s.)

Some of us, like me, rationalize away our inner disposition for God only to rediscover it. For a lot of people, this is a gradual process. For me it was dramatic. I believe this is so, because God never gives up on us. God always wants to be in relation with us. Those who reject God are in denial of their innate longing for God. We are born spiritual beings. It is a waste of our potential to not live out our lives as spiritual beings.

In spite of all the negative things that seem to dominate what we hear, we have a God who loves us and cares for us and will never abandon us. That is what 2009 has in store for us.

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