Daily Reflection
of Creighton University's Online Ministries
February 15th, 2010

Barbara Dilly

Department of Sociology and Anthropology
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Monday in the Sixth Week in Ordinary Time
James 1:1-11
Psalm 119:67, 68, 71, 72, 75, 76
Mark 8:11-13

From my experience, faith has a lot to do with sustaining hopefulness.  But it is also a matter of perseverance when hope seems to disappoint us.  James tells us today that it is very important to work on perseverance and to refine this dimension of our faith.  I think I know what he is talking about here.  Faith has a lot more depth when it is not based on just hope.  We can easily lose hope.  We can easily doubt.  James is right.  We are pretty unstable in all of our ways.  And none of us gets through this life without various trails that test our faith.  But how do we gain the faith that strengthens us and perfects us in the midst of those trials?  I think it is partly due to experience.  It takes awhile to develop and strengthen our faith.  And that is why James says we need to consider all of our trials with an attitude of joy.  If we persevere, we will receive from God what we need.

While I know these lessons to be good and true, I still need to reflect on their challenges to us more frequently.  It is necessary for me to recognize daily the instability of my faith.  It is also helpful to consider in joy that my faith does grow through adversity.  And the way that happens for me is to stick close to God’s promises.  We do need to continue to hold out hope that God will rescue us from adversity.  But I think it means more than that.  I think it means more than just having a positive attitude.  For me it has always meant being open to learning more about who God is and what God does in my life in the midst of adversity.  It seems to be more about finding God’s kindness to me in the midst of what I often think is God’s distance.  That’s what I think it means to recognize our instability.  When I think that God is not with me, in fact, that is when God is most near and comforting.  That is why I need to persevere in my faith. 

But people of faith still want God to send us signs that God is present.  We want God to do all of the work.  I’ve heard that so often from other believers.  We want some external sign of a material sort that says God is still present in the world.  While that might be network news awe-inspiring, it would not contribute to a mature faith in which we actively participate.  It would likely just produce more instability in our faith.  No wonder Jesus seemed so frustrated with the Pharisees when they asked him for signs.  There he was in their midst teaching them about God’s nearness to them and they only wanted him to prove who he was.  They didn’t get it.  And so often we don’t get it.  God is most near to us when we persevere in our faith.   So today I pray for all God’s faithful, that we can grow in faith in the midst of our adversities by persevering.  I pray that we can find God near no matter what we encounter.  Amen.
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