I brought Harriet to the health office on a windy December day for her weigh-in and diet check. A nice little woman with a big clipboard and loads of questions. Does she sleep and eat, yes. Have I heard about the lovely programs available at the children’s center, yes. Do I have thoughts of what?
Depression is so common among mothers of young children that I am routinely asked at all appointments if I have self-destructive or violent thoughts. If I am depressed. If I have support. I’m happy to answer that. I have a loving husband and family and a community of friends, which helps. But mostly I have faith in Jesus Christ, who comforts and steadies me.
“That’s excellent. That’s really the important thing, that you have something, some sort of faith, in anything, that can keep you going,” she says, nodding wisely.
There it is again. I’ve heard this before, often. From people I love and respect. It’s the old faith-in-faith bromide. Faith alone, whatever its object, is good for the human soul. Simple belief in anything or anyone and you’ve got it made.
Really? Will unshakeable faith in the Tooth Fairy save me? If all that is needed is faith–in anything or anyone–then the goal of such faith can really be condensed to just keeping one’s own life and balance going. The existence of the individual. It keeps you going and then you die. This isn’t Christianity, it isn’t even religion. This is humanism. It removes all emphasis from God or any greater purpose–than my own peace (however imaginary, however temporary) of mind.
Let us remember that the worth of one’s faith is not determined by its goal or even its strength but by its object. We ought not to be asking, Do you have faith? At least not unless we then ask the real question–in Whom do you have faith?
Do you have faith in Jesus Christ? The only Son of the only God, the Way, the Truth, and the Life? Do you have faith in the only name under heaven by which we must be saved? The One who is not just the Object of our faith–but its Author and Perfecter?