In our day, most people don’t have time for faith. They don’t make time to believe . . . in anything. It’s a shame, because much of the magic of life comes through the possible, the hope. They also don’t make time to believe in anyone who might be bigger than them, someone who’s more powerful, someone who has their back. Regardless of what you believe about God, there’s some benefit to at least thinking about Him. In fact, many studies have shown that religious people are happier than most. Why is that? Because there are so many things in this life that we can’t control, and it’s nice to think that someone good and powerful is looking out for us.S1030318

But then, sometimes we struggle with this idea. Is anyone really out there? Even those of us who really believe—or used to—wonder if it really makes a difference. Answers to prayers are hard to define. I know tons of people with specific answers to specific prayers, but lately my list has been rather short. So what’s my response? Should I conclude that it doesn’t make a difference? That He’s busy with someone else?

Here’s another question that may answer the first one. Is faith only about answers? I think there’s another hidden cache of gold to consider. Presence. With faith in the presence of God, you feel less lonely, more supported, and more hopeful, like there’s someone looking out for you. Like it’s going to be okay, regardless of how it looks now and how many answers to prayer you can count.

So, maybe you don’t see specific signposts that you can point to as sure evidence of His presence. Yet, the ability to have faith in His presence leads to a comfort that goes into deep, nameless places in the soul, like that hand you grab onto when the foundations are shifting under your feet.

I believe that each of us is responsible for our lives and the outcome. Each of us has to choose how we will think and act, what decisions to make, and what to believe in. Although we are responsible for ourselves 100%, knowing that there is Someone holding up our arms as we reach out, giving us that wink when we need encouragement, and giving us a place to sit when we’re bone weary . . . all this helps us take the next step.

Some of our problem with God is that we just demand too much from Him. We want Him to show us things He’s already clearly shown us, and do things for us that we need to do ourselves. We expect Him to do the heavy lifting while we reap all the benefits. We want magic, not real life. He promises real life, with its elation and its grit, its warm comfort and its tears . . . and His presence alongside.

So picture a friend, not a puppeteer. He won’t make those decisions for you. And He won’t necessarily break all the natural laws He made just to show you He’s there. But I believe He’s there. So be comforted. Reach out. Make time for faith. March 12, 2013