When a movie, based on a book, is made, we ask “Is it faithful to the original?” Or when a copy of a work of art is reproduced its quality is judged by its faithfulness.
This is how I like to think about our faith, as an imperfect reproduction of the perfect faithfulness of God. This way of thinking puts the focus where it properly belongs, on God.
There is a lovely English hymn with a text by the poet Robert Bridges called “All my hope on God is founded.” On one of my English study sabbaticals I first heard it sung by a boys choir in one of the Oxford colleges, and it has been a favorite of mine ever since.
The first verse of the hymn gives expression to what I have been saying about our faith reproducing God’s faithfulness. The verse says:
“All my hope on God is founded;
he doth still my trust renew,
me through change and chance he guideth,
only good and only true.
calls my heart to be his own.”
The final line, “calls my heart to be his own,” captures the idea that God’s perfect faithfulness invites us to faith, however imperfect ours must ever be.
William Ames, the great exiled English Puritan of the early seventeenth century, put it like this:
“Faith is the virtue by which, clinging-to the faithfulness of God, we lean upon him, so that we may obtain what he gives to us.”
Or as the hymn says, “(God) doth still my trust renew.” Think of faith as a renewable resource, an everlasting stream flowing from the perfect faithfulness of God. Through “change and chance” God guides us, and invites us to be full of faith.
(This is the fourth guest post I am blogging for an eight-week series called: “Hope-A Pessimist’s Guide” on Darkwood Brew, which describes itself as “a renegade exploration of Christian faith for the modern world which blends ancient contemplative practices with cutting-edge interactive web technology, world-class music, arts, biblical scholarship, and special guests from around the globe via Skype.”)
(Photo: R.L. Floyd)