Personal Faith

Grant Montgomery – Grant’s Rants on Personal Faith

Grant Montgomery
Photo Copyright 2011

Someone once asked me, “You are in a humanitarian position, so what do you do when you hear of these disasters happening, how do you cope? I find it overwhelming at times exposed to world events at the rate we are, not to speak of the needs of the world at any one time. How do you handle it?  What keeps your fire burning?”

My response: If I didn’t have a personal faith, I wouldn’t be doing the work I do, let alone be able to cope with world events and the situations I encounter. The inner strength I call upon is faith-based, and it helps me see beyond the moment. In many ways it’s embodied in a short sentence that I once read, and have never forgotten: If you truly know that God loves you, you know that everything is going to work out OK.

While I may consider myself a spiritual person, I would not consider myself a religious person. (“Spiritual”, according to Webster’s dictionary definition is “seeking to have the mind set on spiritual things”; whereas “religious” is “conforming to religion”.)

While I profess to be a Christian, the faith I speak of is by no means limited to any one brand or label.

“I do not believe in Christianity the way I believe in Jesus. I am a Christian who does not necessarily believe
in Christianity as I used to, but who believes in Christ with all my heart, more than ever.”Brian D. McLaren

I marvel at the faith of the Palestinian people, Christian and Muslim alike, who have suffered so much pain and agony, most the world oblivious or detached from their plight in Gaza and so forth. It’s their faith that somehow carries them through. A belief that God will bring them a solution, if not in this life, then the next.

Similar is my experience in the Indian Subcontinent. The only thing that helps millions of poor — be they Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim or Christian — there cope, day after day, is a faith that there’s a better world coming.

Likewise, from my experience, the ones who best cope with conditions in sub-Sahara Africa are those with deeply held Christian beliefs. And I would add that if you scratch below the surface of the grassroots organizations that are actually doing something about the AIDS epidemic in their regions and working to improve conditions for those affected by this scourge, many are sincere Christians motivated by their faith. Likewise those working in the field of human rights.

I’m speaking of the kind of faith that sees people through some really tough times, and in fact is often partially a result of going through tough times. And when you consider conditions in much of the world, the type of faith that is needed virtually every day just to sustain these poor folks, let alone when disaster strikes.

To analyze what this type of faith offers, I would say among the by-products of faith are:

1. Peace in your heart—the stability that comes from knowing God is ultimately in control of every situation.
2. Trust in God—that rest and comfort and security you feel when you know that He is going to take care of the situation. As Mark Twain once wrote, “Most of our troubles never happen!”
3. Expectancy—expecting that He will fulfill His promises.
4. Hope—remembering that no matter how bad things might get around you, you’re just a stranger and a pilgrim here, destined for a better place, and the more you have to endure on Earth, the sweeter and more rewarding Heaven will be when you get there.
5. Happiness. Although sometimes everyone naturally feels happier than at other times, people with faith enjoy greater happiness on the overall, and regardless of the circumstances around them. That doesn’t mean life will be smooth, but they will find happiness nevertheless. Of course, there are obstacles, and many physical and emotional reasons why it’s “illogical” and “impossible” to be happy but people of faith focus on the never-changing tenets of their faith.

Grant Montgomery – Grant’s Rants on Personal Faith