From “Why Faith Matters”

Many years ago when my faith in God was dwindling, I received a rustling at my door that turned out to be a note from a church community that has become a major part of my life of faith. Today, I tell my friends that I think it was God rustling at my door, using the hands of the people from a local church (who have turned out to be beautiful friends of mine). Since then, I’ve grown an appreciation and interest in learning about other people’s faith journeys. One thing I believe is true about God universally is that God is not only visible to us in one way…God is visible and accessible to us in a multitude of ways. For some, God is found in a sunset. For some, God is found in Jesus Christ. For others, God is found in music, and yet for many others, God is found in all of creation. May the God of all creation speak to you in your own way, and may your faith in God’s love for you increase in a multitude of ways.

This excerpt from the book “Why Faith Matters” speaks to this subtle diversity in which, I believe, God makes Godself known to humankind.

“What is true of human beings is true of God. How can I meet God if I venture out into the world weighed down by the purposelessness and emptiness of it all? To be open, to be humble, to seek—these are the preconditions to find something that simple reason alone will never yield. Deuteronomy 6:6 reads, “and these words which I command you this day shall be on your heart.” The Rabbi of Kotzk, a nineteenth-century teacher, asked why the Bible states “on your heart” when it really wishes the words to be “in your heart.” His answer is that hearts are not always open. But if you place the words on your heart, when the heart is more receptive, they will sink in and there unfold their deeper meaning. This is true of all great messages in life, which take on their deeper shades only when we are ready. Clichés that mean nothing in youth suddenly become profundities as we age. Similarly, the idea of God can seem pale and distant when we are remote from sources of spirit. Later, a moment of faithful intimacy can change our lives forever.

Devotional literature, prayer, a religious community, an appreciation to the wonders of the natural world, an open heart to the testimonies of others, can help develop our capacity for faith. We develop that capacity not through argument but through openness: Two people look at the same ocean; one is spurred to poetry. Two people look at the same sky; one is called to prayer. The difference is not in the weight of evidence, but in the receptivity of soul.”

From the book Why Faith Matters, by David J. Wolpe. © 2008, excerpt taken from pp. 117-118 of hardback edition.


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