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Don't Bother Keeping the Faith
a way to be happy

“Keep the faith,” is a friendly goodbye-phrase in English. “What is your faith?”, is a question suitable for almost anyone: even atheists are often not offended by it. The word “faith” runs far and wide in today’s language, and has a very specific meaning: a person’s “faith” is a collection of ideals, to which he or she devotes his or her life.

So what is an “ideal”? Well, it is a kind of thought...and most modern societies have huge junkyards of them, from which people choose, and are given, various bits and pieces, for their personal collections. For instance, a large proportion of children of the United States of America, were, and many still are, taught to be devoted to certain of these: many will find these familiar as “indivisible”, and “liberty and justice for all”. But the USA is a nation of this world, a world whose loves God says are evil. This is not the Kingdom of God. There cannot be liberty for all, because there is evil in the hearts of men and women; and there cannot be justice for all, for exactly the same reason. Therefore, those thoughts, are not truths. They are ideals. They are all wishes, which God has said shall not be granted in this world. Because of this, “keeping the faith” is easy to say only if we don’t know, or if we don’t think very much. There is no need for any of those things to actually happen...because all they are, after all, is ideals. This is indeed bleak, and terrible; but please do hang on, there is much good, after we get through this tough nut.

And this is a most terribly tough nut. One can find as many books as one cares to look for, which boil down to piles of loose verbiage, trying to justify sets of ideals against others, trying to claim that sets of sinful human thoughts are less so than others, and quoting sinful men and women against others, as if that matters, in the end. It is no wonder at all that there is so much torture going on inside men and women today. The junkyards of ideals are growing, and the piles violate themselves -- and each other -- more and more over time. In the USA, decades ago, some laws of the land protecting national self-violation, were eliminated…but more of that evil has been added since, and the same elsewhere. This, too, is perfectly normal, because no matter what ideal-ists and empty optimists try to demand, there is no nation of this world which will not do this self-violation, and regularly, and often.

But the great question, is what does God say about all of this. What has He said about these things? About faith, and faiths, and ideals? What gifts might He have for us in this?

Recently I stumbled upon something in this, quite accidentally. It has been shaking me, in wonderful ways. I happened to read, that a word in Old Hebrew, which is translated to that modern word “faith”, does not mean this. It is something very different. It is, “trust in God”. I checked it, then triple-checked it, and then checked every other word I could find in old Biblical Hebrew which is commonly translated to “faith”: there are several. Every one of them, refers to trust, in God. Not to faith, not to sets of ideals, and never, ever, devotion to wishes or goals that God has said shall not occur. They all refer to trust, in God.

Trust in God, means we trust Him no matter what happens, no matter what we see happening. It means we remember many things He has said, many of them profoundly disturbing, and we count on them to be true. He has said that we shall suffer in this world; therefore, we shall, and we cannot eliminate this. He has said that we do good if we help those who are suffering, and therefore it is good to do so, while remembering that any effort in this world to stamp out all suffering, is effort against God: In this world we shall suffer, He says, as a sifting, that we be humbled, that our sin within be exposed for repentance. He says that those who humble themselves shall be exalted, and those who exalt themselves shall be humbled. Being humbled is not fun, but it shall occur. Also, He says, the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, whom He has sent, shall deliver much good to us and through us. And in the midst of it all, through it all, through both the joy and the pain, He calls us to trust Him.

God calls us to trust Him -- as the final author, of all that is, was, and ever shall be. It is He who decided that a man called Job, was to suffer enormously: it was He, the Father in Heaven, the Creator, who released great evil unto the killing of all of that man’s first family, and the destruction of his health and fortune; and it was He who decided to restore Job’s health, and give him a second family, and a second fortune; and because Job trusted in God, he knew no guilt of failure to prevent, Job was free to live all of that joy, before and after, without regret. It is also He, the Father in Heaven, who required sacrifice, the most terrible torture of the Messiah, in blood, for our benefit; and it is He who promised resurrection, and gave it after that sacrifice was complete. It is He who decides what any and all enemies can do, He who stays their hands if they are stayed, He who has released their hands if they are not stayed. And it is He who, as we are willing to repent of the loves of this world, will clean us of all of that evil that He shall not tolerate in His Kingdom, and will bring us to Him. He calls all to trust Him, in and throughout all things. He calls us to be sad for that which deserves sadness – and indeed, there was, is, and shall be much which deserves sadness, it is no shame to be sad when we witness this – but through it all, He calls us to trust Him.

So don’t bother to keep the faith. Ideals are not worthy of your time and your life. Read what God has said of Himself, both Old and New Testaments, in order to learn about Whom we should trust. And trust in God.

Jonathan Brickman
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