by J. W. Murphy
edited: Sunday, July 13, 2003
Posted: Sunday, July 13, 2003
Become a Fan
Something written for a class over two years ago. Dec. 1, 2000
A weather beaten face comprised of sun-dried skin, sand-irritated eyes, and wind blown hair not covered by a worn hat or drooping bonnet, frames each weary soul in every trail-bitten wagon. Every rickety wagon grudgingly pulled by ox or horse composes the scattered train of thirty or more wagons and stretches endlessly on, it seems, over the vast trail - the train itself comprised of a hundred determined souls.
The train moves on, haltingly at times, aside the pain and sorrow of its persistent members. Yet, with each ache of their tired muscles and every sharp hunger pain, their determination strengthens and their jaded spirits find solace. But how could someone find solace and determination in such a situation? What would drive someone on who is suffering from lack of rest and nourishment? What could possibly strengthen a jaded spirit in times like these? Only faith in what lay ahead could do this! Faith drives them to an unseen destination when no tangible evidence will. Therefore, faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things unseen.
Just as the pioneers had hope in a better land, so most of them carried a strong religious faith. They held a belief in God that defined them - their being, lifestyles, and attitudes. Like the Pilgrims of old who left aged England, under religious persecution from the state, for the "New World" and freedom, these pioneers left aging America, in similar religious and political suffocation, for the new frontier and its expanse of freedom. To both groups, enduring hardship was yet a small price to pay for their faith. It is that faith within which stirred them on.
As faith may be placed in situations and deity, it may also be placed in people. For instance, as a trapeze performer flies through the air they exert a considerable amount of faith in their colleague to catch them. On a lesser scale, everyone has a similitude of faith in his or her local law enforcement agency to do exactly what this name implies - enforce law for the protection of society. In both cases there is a sense of trust involved - warranted trust.
So, we see that faith is both hope and a belief. Likewise, faith may also be trust placed in an individual or group. However, what does this really mean? This does not mean that faith is merely a synonym for hope, belief, and trust; but, rather, it is something deeper than these. It is perhaps divine in nature; nevertheless, it is unquestionable in action. This means real faith has no doubt in hope, no wavering in belief, or no faltering in trust. Undoubtedly, it is sure, definite, undeniable hope, trust, or belief in situations, people, or God.
Faith is like electricity to the spirit - usually not seen but always empowering. Its current enlivens despair into exuberance and anxiety into calm disposition. However, it must be plugged into an outlet, a spirit, to do any good.
The truth remains; faith, like electricity, is intangible and the only evidence of its existence lies in changes evoked by it. However, faith bares invisible substance in hope, trust, and belief. Furthermore, hope, trust, and belief as the essence of faith may be rolled into the first trait - hope. Doesn’t trust appear as hope clothed in situational garb? For instance, the endangered trapeze performer hopes their colleague catches them. Likewise, is not a belief a substantial hope in that which cannot be seen? To be sure, the pioneers and pilgrims of yesteryear had a strong hope that the elements, which defined them -their being, lifestyles, and attitudes -, were what God wanted them to do. So, we find an adequate conclusion, the substance of faith is found in hope and faith is subsequently evidenced by the intangible.