By Henrylito D. Tacio
“He who has faith has,” says B.C. Forbes, “an inward reservoir of courage, hope, confidence, calmness, and assuring trust that all will come out well – even though to the world it may appear to come out most badly.”
Faith is a powerful medicine. That’s the title of an article which appeared in January 2001 issue of the Asian edition of Reader’s Digest. The title caught my attention: Was the author – Phyllis McIntosh – talking about faith healing? After reading the whole article, the answer is no. She was actually writing about religious faith.
“We cannot prove scientifically that God heals, but I believe we can prove that belief in God has a beneficial effect,” explains Dr. Dale Matthews, associate professor of medicine at Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington, who was quoted as saying.
According to the author, more than 30 studies have found a connection between spiritual or religious commitment and longer life. Among the most compelling ones:
· A survey of 5,286 Californians found that churchgoers have lower death rates than non-churchgoers – regardless of risk factors such as smoking, drinking, obesity and inactivity.
· Those with a religious commitment had fewer symptoms or had better health outcomes in seven out of eight cancer studies, four out of five blood-pressure studies and four out of five general-health studies.
· People with strong religious commitment seem to be less prone to depression, suicide, alcoholism and other addictions, according to one research analysis.
A person does not need to know how or why faith works. But faith does work! Sir Wilfred Grenfell has this to say: “Why is it that the very term ‘religious life’ has come to voice the popular idea that religion is altogether divorced from ordinary life? That conception is the exact opposite of Christ’s teachings. Faith, ‘reason grown courageous,’ as someone has called it, has become assurance to me now, not because the fight is easy and we are never worsted but because it has made life infinitely worthwhile, so that I want to get all I can out of it, every hour.
“God help us not to neglect the use of a thing – like faith – because we do not know how it works! It would be a criminal offense in a doctor not to use the X-ray even if he does not know how barium chloride makes Gamma rays visible. We must know that our opinions are not a matter of very great moment, except in so far as in what they lead us to do. I see no reason whatever to suppose that the Creator lays any stress on them either. Experience answers out problems – experience of faith and common sense. For faith and common sense, taken together, make reasonable service, which ends by giving us the light of life.”
Just what is faith, anyway? “Faith is not trying to believe something regardless of evidence,” says Sherwood Eddy. “Faith is daring to do something regardless of the consequences.” Elton Trueblood points out: “Faith not belief without proof, but trust without reservations.”
The Holy Bible, the book of all books, assigns high importance to faith: “If you have faith as a grain of mustard seed… nothing shall be impossible unto you.”
Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, one of the world’s most widely American authors, explains: “The implication is that while you may not have perfect faith, or considerable faith, or even faith as small as a tiny mustard seed, yet, if what you do have is real faith, then life will be predicated, not on an impossibility concept, but rather upon the fact of great possibilities. Faith strongly held can move you of the area of the impossible into a way of life that is full of exciting possibilities.”
A famous heiress keeps her priceless collection of jewels in the vault of a large bank. One of her prize possessions is a very valuable string of pearls. It is a scientific fact that pearls lose their original luster if not worn once in a while in contact with the human body. So, once a week, a bank secretary, guarded by two plainclothesmen, wears these priceless pearls to lunch. This brief contact with the human body keeps them beautiful and in good condition.
Our faith is lot a like a pearl. It must be used in order to be useful. It must be worn out among the masses of mankind where faith and hope are needed.
“We live by faith or we do not live at all,” wrote Harold Walker. “Either we venture – or we vegetate. If we venture, we do so by faith simply because we cannot know the end of anything at its beginning. We risk marriage on faith or we stay single. We prepare for a profession by faith or we give up before we start. By faith, we move mountains of opposition or we are stopped by molehills.”
The Bible (II Corinthians 5:7) told us: “For we walk by faith, not by sight.” One day, a six year old girl was sitting in a classroom. The teacher was going to explain evolution to the children. The teacher asked Tommy, “Do you see the tree outside?” and the little boy answered affirmatively. Then he asked him to go outside to find out if he can see the sky. When Tommy returned, he said that he saw the sky. The teacher asked, “Did you see God?” The little boy replied, “No.”
The teacher then told the class. “That’s my point. We can’t see God because He isn’t there. He doesn’t exist.”
Hearing those words, the little girl stood up, spoke and asked Tommy the same questions the teacher asked the little boy. The teacher was listening. “Yes, I saw the sky,” Tommy, who was getting tired of the questions being asked.
“Our teacher asked you if you saw God outside and you told him no,” the little girl explained. “Because of that, he told us that God doesn’t exist at all. Now, Tommy, do you see our teacher?” Tommy answered affirmatively. The next question was: “Do you see her brain?” Tommy answered negatively. The little girl then concluded, “Then according to what our teacher taught us, she doesn’t have brain at all because we have not seen it.”
An unknown author once said, ” A little faith will bring your soul to heaven, but a lot of faith will bring heaven to your soul.” Because, as Carter Lindberg puts it, “Faith enables persons to be persons because it lets God be God.”
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