“He squinted against the sun. Worry is something you create. Why would we create worry? To fill a void. A void of what? Faith” — Mitch Albom, The Stranger in the Lifeboat
There are lots of things that get in the way of our faith. You and I could laundry list a bucket-full of reasons … injustice … illness … unfairness … insincerity … illusion. Typically, we (or maybe it is just me who does this) allow these forces and experiences in the world to corrupt the view that I (we) have of God. We blame others for these obstacles to our faith … when the truth is, that we are the ones that allow them to creep into our hearts and minds. Mitch Albom, in his most recent provocative consideration of faith, puts his finger on our penchant for worrying, and the way in which we use that worrying as a way to cover up the emptiness of our faith and trust in God, and the life God has offered us.
The words read true to me. In my experience, it is not an absence of godly resources that causes us to struggle in our faith journeys, but an emptiness of faith and trust within our own hearts and minds that leads us to worry about the present and the future, as they unfold before us. Do you sense that truth in your own life? What is the solution? How do we avoid this obsession with worrying, and the constant “fretting” in which we engage? How do we fill this “void of faith” that regularly torments us in our faith journey’s?
The words that typically arise in discussions like this one, are words like “faith” and “trust” and “belief.” We fool ourselves into thinking that we have all the resources we need for a vibrant faith life. When the truth is that God is the one who blesses us with faith, and the one who prompts us to dig deeper into this experience of faith. So, you could make the argument that it is not a greater and stronger faith that we need … but that we need a more limber and attentive heart, which is ready to find faith in those ordinary places in life where God is most likely to show up in the life of the world.
So, in the week ahead, think about faith not so much as a commodity that you can store up in your spiritual life, but as an attitude that opens your heart and spirit to the presence of God, who is so excited to be a part of your life, that God overlooks our inadvertent attempts to make the gift of faith into a work that we accomplish for God.
May you find the courage to allow room for God to fill the voids in your life.