Monday, August 22, 2005

Faith or Folly?

By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed and went out to a place he was going to receive as an inheritance; he went out, not knowing where he was going. 9 By faith he stayed as a foreigner in the land of promise, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, co-heirs of the same promise. 10 For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose architect and builder is God. 11 By faith even Sarah herself, when she was barren, received power to conceive offspring, even though she was past the age, since she considered that the One who had promised was faithful. 12 And therefore from one man--in fact, from one as good as dead--came offspring as numerous as the stars of heaven and as innumerable as the grains of sand by the seashore. 13 These all died in faith without having received the promises, but they saw them from a distance, greeted them, and confessed that they were foreigners and temporary residents on the earth. 14 Now those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. 15 If they had been remembering that land they came from, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 But they now aspire to a better land--a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.

I came across this scripture passage when I first moved to Korea. I could really identify with Abraham moving to a foreign land where he had no family. Being gay, I also could identify with the frustration of Sarah being unable to have children. And yet things worked out for both of these people because they acted on faith. Faith that God would come through and do what He promised he would do. I'm amazed at how long they waited and even when Sarah made mistakes and doubted God's providence, the story had a happy ending.

Currently I'm attempting to put together a computer corner hutch from IKEA. I don't have a computer but my boyfriend does. The irony here is that I have no idea when this computer hutch will actually be used for that purpose. The computer itself is in storage here and I'm unable to claim all that stuff because I have no legal status here in Canada. I hoped that AnTaek would be able to claim all these things when he came here on a student visa but he was turned down two days ago because he misunderstood a question on the application. So of course we are trying to appeal that but it doesn't look good. Of course with all the difficulties we're questioning why I even came to Canada in the first place. I personally had faith that this was where God wanted us to be. And to top it off, first thing this morning I got a phone call from a principal I had a terrific interview with saying that they went another way and I did not get the job. This month we are also "celebrating" our 3 years of being together. So it indeed is a whopper of a Monday.

My question therefore is posed at the top. When is it faith? And when is it sheer stupidity? At times the line seems to be a fine one.


Anonymous said...

One time, a friend gave me a book called the Prophet by Kahlil Gibran. It was a good book. Kahlil Gibran said many smart things in his of them being "faith is an oasis in the heart which will never be reached by the caravan of thinking"

And that's not stupid at all.

And then, there was this other guy (Robert Browning) who was quoted as saying "I show you doubt to prove that faith exists."

Sorry for using other people's words, but they're better than my own.

On a completely unrelated note, your passage at the beginning made me think about the evacuation of the Israeli settlers in the Gaza strip.

abogado-david said...

Hey Dan--Very sorry about the job thing. I too hoped it was going to work out.

As you know, I once had a girlfriend from another country, and we hoped she could come in on a student visa to study for her MBA. In order to get into business school, though, she had to take the GMAT, a difficult nationwide standard entrance exam. She prayed and went to mass--and didn't pass the test. We were both disappointed.

The most surprising thing for me after that was her declaration that there was no God, or that if there was, God didn't care much for her. She pretty much wrote faith out of that part of her life for several years.

Of course, you know how the story ends--we actually didn't end up together. We both wanted a different happy ending than what actually happened. But looking back on it, that wasn't because of her not passing the GMAT. And her not passing the GMAT was not really a sign from God of whether or not we were supposed to be together.

The signs were everything else about the relationship that was wrong which we were ignoring. And as you know, I'm now married to someone who is infinitely better for me and she's in a much better relationship too. I'm not saying this will be anything like the way your story ends, because your relationship with Antek is much different--you are both older, more mature, and you had a real relationship in the same town for several years. You have way more invested in this than I ever did in my long-distance relationship.

But, as I've said before, the power of Christ is so often not manifested in avoiding evil, tragedy and heartache. In retrospect, His power most stuns me in the miracles I did not know were coming--when all hope was lost, when I thought I had lost, and from tragedy came something better and more wonderful than I could have imagined.

And I couldn't have imagined it at the time. That's really part of the miracle. I didn't know what was ahead for me, nor could I have known. In fact, I probably shouldn't have known, because if I had, I probably would have fought it to get the way I wanted things to happen at that time.

So your question about Abraham... what exactly was it that Abraham had faith in? Did he really expect to be the ancestor to millions? Was that the promise he was following? A specific piece of land?

If anything, the story of Abraham and Sara illustrates that they did not know exactly what was ahead, yet God took their crazy situation and made a miracle from it. Same with his great-grandson Joseph. Sold BY HIS OWN FAMILY as a slave, then thrown in jail on a framed attempted rape charge. Things not looking so well. Do you really think his faith at that moment was that God was going to make him, a non-Egyptian, vice-Pharaoh? Do you think Moses, exiled murderer, had any idea what he was in for when he first surrendered his destiny before the burning bush?

If faith is the belief in things unseen, it is also belief in the unknown and unimagined. I have no idea how this is going to work out, but I do believe that your story will have a happy ending, even if it is one you cannot see and cannot plan for.

Father Tony, a priest and a friend of mine, once told me that more than 50 percent of faith is letting go. Letting go of what? Whatever it is that you cling to so tightly. I know that can seem impossible, and probably none of this is much of a consolation at this moment.

Moving to Canada, regardless of what becomes of it, was not folly, Dan. I don't know whether it was God's will or not--apparently only our president knows that, and you know what I think of him--but I believe that God will create something good--more than just good--from it. We just can't see it yet--and maybe we are not supposed to. Te quiero mucho, hermano...