What Is Faith?
Rev. Linda Dee Bilitch, Ph.D.

We have all heard the verse from the bible "Faith is the susbstance of thing hoped for, the evidence of the things not seen." Hebrews ll:l

Who hasn't at some time heard these words from someone meaning well, when the other person was down? And what did it gain them but a blank stare of disbelief? That they would even bring up faith at a time like this may be wholly inappropriate.

When someone grieves in tears, we are but to hold them and cry with them. Then, when the time is right, after healing has begun, then is the time to "ease" into counsel and witness.

Let't take the first part of the verse "faith is the substance of things hoped for..."

An example:

A mother sits and quietly rocks her child. No, not in their cozy home but beside a hospital bed. Tubes project into this small child from seemingly everywhere. As the mother rocks her child, knowing he is about to die, she asks, "Honey, do you remember how we talked about how the Angel's song would take you home? Don't be afraid. When the time comes follow the Angel's song." The child looks up at his mother and says, "Mama, I hear them, they're so beautiful, calling me." At that he passes away, leaving his weeping, grieving mother hoding the body of the dead son.

Now of course this mother prayed and hoped for her son's recovery. Yet even in the knowledge that he was about to die, his mother's faith stayed strong. And in the mother's keeping her faith strong, this made it easier for her son to pass over.

This is a woman of strong faith, yet why weren't her hopes for her son's recovery answered?

Now, for the second part "the evidence of things not seen."

Does that mean a miraculous healing, a proof of God's existence?

We all ask "why?" from time to time. And where we can understand such an end for ourselves, we can not understand the death of such an innocent.

Then there are people who live with pain daily, wishing that Jesus would call them home. Yet their heart is set and driven to do the Lord's work. I am one of these people. The day I am taken up will be my release from pain. No, I don't fear death, I welcome the Lord's calling. But until then, I'll not let Satan have the victory over my life. According to the bible all Christians are supposed to long to be with God. The loved ones left behind should not grieve for the death of a believer. It should be a celebration of his going to be with God. When we grieve, we are really grieving for ourselves and our loss.

What does all this mean, all these together? A simple understanding. If the total knowledge of all the world were but a fly speck, then how can we hope to understand the master plan of God, when his knowledge spans the universe and beyond? How can we hope to understand God's plan? How can we even hope to come to an understanding of God's plan for us?

The first step to enlightenment is to know that we know nothing. We don't know why faith works sometimes and not others, except that it is God's will. Faith is an understanding of this, and acceptance and surrender to God's will. A real Christian can't wait for their being taken to our Heavenly Father's table.

Studies at hospitals have shown that dying patients who have faith pass over in peace. Those who are lost go in panic.

I would that we all go in peace. An impossible task? Perhaps. But that is what we are here for.

copyright 2002 Rev. Linda Dee Bilitch, Ph.D.
Used by permission.