There have been several seasons of uncertainty in my life. One, when in college. My dorm was Pinal Hall, under the Wildcat stadium at the University of Arizona. My window looked out over 6th Street. It was alive on game night.
Because the dorm was within the structure of the stadium, it was concrete all around. The ceiling mirrored the steps of the stadium. The cheering, excitement, and energy of game night was often in stark contrast to the everyday grey. As any student in a dorm room, I attempted to bring in some cheer and color with my stuff and a few posters.
Perhaps one of the reasons I hung one particular poster was also because my good friend and roommate often reminded me he was agnostic. I can still see it’s mountain scene with blue sky as the backdrop. The poster quoted Hebrews 11:1 — “faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”
I really hung the poster because I needed to be reminded of that truth in what sometimes felt like a faithless place. It was a time when my world was being re-ordered and I had great uncertainty about how to navigate life and find my own agency. There are days in which it feels likewise in this season, too. It is not a spiritual crisis as much as this season can feel like a drought, or the water in the well is so far down and so hard to reach.
John Wesley, the founder of our Methodist movement described such a season in his life before his 1738 Aldersgate experience when his faith was confirmed. Wesley’s good spiritual friend, Peter Böhler said to him, “preach faith till you have it.” Böhler was not encouraging Wesley to fake the faith or be a hypocrite, but rather to keep seeking faith out. Most of the best preaching is about questioning and seeking.
That is a good place to be right now — in 2020 — questioning and seeking from a footing of hope and conviction. We don’t have all the answers for the perplexing questions and challenges of this day, but the conviction that God is with us and God has a future for us, which is one of life, is forever true and firm. That is the solid ground in this sinking sand experience of today.
Even when the ball games are on-again and off-again…
Even when we move forward and then retreat…
Even when we think we have clarity and then it becomes a mirage…
…Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
In Faith and Hope,