I can honestly say that I haven’t a clue as to how anyone survives the difficulty of life without faith in God. Not only has my faith helped me survive difficult times, my faith also helps me use difficulty and challenge to become more resilient as a person. I take solace in my belief that God intends to restore all that is broken in our world and that God can work all things for the good of those who love Him.
However, it would be wrong to say that my faith always offers me solace and comfort, or indeed that it should. Consider the foundational story of the Judeo-Christian tradition, the call of Abram. God asks Abram to leave his country and kindred, the safe and familiar, and to journey to a new land with nothing but a promise. God invites Abram not only to faith and obedience, but also to a life of vulnerability. In saying yes to God’s call, Abram is at the same time signing up for a life of risk, uncertainty, and prayer as he daily rumbles with the fear and doubt that always accompany our choice to leave the safe and familiar.
We do people a great disservice when we speak of faith as something that always offers us comfort and solace. Biblical faith is not lived within the walls of the Temple where paid clergy offer sacrifices meant to stabilize our life. No, Biblical faith is always meant to destabilize us as we learn to become a living sacrifice, die daily, and leave Haran.
Should our faith comfort us when times are tough? Alleluia, amen, YES! But let us not neglect to speak the full truth about the cruciform life: our faith should also discomfort us when times are easy.