When experiences of struggle occur in life,
As faith gathers where fear is rife,
Courage has the intensity of hope,
Only by faith is there strength to cope.
The experience of life in its entire multitude of moments is made up of mountains and valleys. At the mountaintops is a blissful, thankful joy exuding. In the valleys is despair we hardly reckon as just. Much of life skates between these two polarities of extreme, yet there are plenty of mountains and valleys in plain view.
Faith and fear; fear and faith: these come with the package.
As we vacillate in our capacity to cope with the strains of living we tend between faith and fear. A fear that soars is the becoming of faith, yet often faith flounders and is soon the very representation of fear.
Neither faith nor fear is without the other. They run in unison, yet opposed. They are sustained as a tension; they are on a continuum – as we slide up one end to faith we have no fear that moment, and as we recede to the other end, fear has exhausted faith.
Faith and fear; fear and faith: these are both in tandem throughout life.
Never are we without the capacity for each. When we get too confident in the sheer brashness of faith (as it turns to pride) we risk a fall. Yet, we are too easily struck by fear as if we have fallen to rock bottom. We are never too far from each or either, faith or fear.
If we recognise that life is one long orienteering event, we can understand that amongst the peaks and valleys there are streams and caves and plains and ravines, also. Not only is there the blissful and deplorable, there is the exciting, the breathtaking, the nerve-racking, the boring, and the distasteful.
In all this we can recognise, afresh, that faith is an ally and fear is not so much a foe, but a guide as to how strong – in that moment – our faith is.
Fear is not the end of the story; it’s the invitation to augment our response by faith.
Our faith is at its best when we are hemmed in with fear. Faith that finds hope enough to keep going is acting courageously. Fear is no bad thing; it is our invitation to ply faith. By faith we respond. Fear that soars is faith.
© 2014 S. J. Wickham.