Today is Ash Wednesday, which marks the beginning of the Lenten season in the Christian faith. For the next six weeks – until Easter Sunday – devout folks across the globe will fast, pray and eat McDonald’s fish sandwiches.
Lent marks the last weeks of Jesus’ life: from the nation’s political and religious unrest, to his betrayal by one of his trusted friends, to the sham trial that railroaded him to dying nailed to a cross… to that empty tomb and his reappearances to hundreds of people, alive and well.
This isn’t a blog about Christianity or religion of any kind, actually. But when a person’s faith is alive and active, it’s hard to separate from daily life.
As little kids, we have no idea what lies ahead in adulthood. We have visions of the great car we’ll have, or all the candy we can eat whenever we want. We have vague dreams of some awesome job, traveling, really cool clothes or a swimming pool. Girls plan elaborate weddings, and guys imagine that flashy new boat.
We don’t think about the daily grind, the challenges, the setbacks. Of course we don’t!
And neither do we focus on that today – nor should we.
But the fact is that life comes at us hard, both the good and the bad. And without the foundation of a firm faith, I have no idea how people make it through with their sanity intact.
Faith is the Answer
Religion and faith are the same, but different. Religion is a set of practices and rules that give structure to a person’s life of faith. Faith is the “what,” and religion is the “how.” A religious person will follow all the rules of what her religion requires, and she may have a deep faith. A person of faith will have a deep conviction and belief in the principles of her religion, and she may follow its rules and daily practices.
Faith is the destination, and religion is the journey.
When life is hard, when life is lonely, when life is confusing, when life is empty, God is the answer for a person of faith.
As a Christian, I believe with all my heart that God is found in Jesus Christ. I’ve lived his way and I’ve lived despite him, and trust me – Jesus runs my life a heck of a lot better than I do.
At the same time, I have deep respect for the religious choice of others. As long as it’s peaceful and honors the rights of others, who am I to force my religion on anybody? Don’t we all want that same respect in return?
This blog isn’t about Christianity or faith itself, but true faith can’t be separated out. It permeates and girds every aspect of life.
The Spirit of faith is our Counselor, our wisdom. He’s our guide, our anchor, our salt and light. He’s our teacher and our strength and our rest. He is our home.
In all ways seek him, and he will make your journey straight.