The Formula

The formula is as follows:

Faith —> Hope —> Love

…and in that order.

I have an argument against this. I don’t know if I came up with it on my own or if it’s something a swarm of demons put in my head. I’ll try to briefly lay it out for consideration:

I noted in my last post that without a vision a man becomes suicidal (at least, that was the case with me). And I also noted that it seems we’re supposed to have faith that God has a vision for our lives – a vision that is good and leads to untold fulfillment and happiness – but that we must trust it exists without knowing the details of it. We must step “into the hand of God” so to speak.

Some men, of course, do have a vision. Maybe they’ve taken the Nietzschian route and imposed it on themselves? Or maybe, as seems to be the case with most of the blue-collar guys I’m around everyday, life has ushered them into it without a moment’s self-reflection? If you’re lucky enough to be satisfied in either of those two ways, cherish what you have. That’s God’s way of giving you a free pass on the “faith” part of the above formula. You lucky few (or maybe the majority are in this situation?) get out of bed in the mornings knowing exactly who you are and where you’re meant to be. I repeat: cherish it.

For the unhappy few in my situation, we, apparently, must blindly trust that God has something planned for us and that, despite all evidence to the contrary, He’s working it out as planned. If a man is able to truly have this sort of trust in God, then he is also able to jump out of bed, excited for the new day and its possibilities. If a man is unable to have that sort of faith, then he’s miserable, melancholic, and unmotivated. What’s the point?

It ought to be simple then: just have faith, then the powerful motivating hope will seep in and happiness will follow. As a quick side note: happiness follows because even if a man hasn’t achieved his goal and purpose, just knowing that he’s working on it is all he needs for happiness. But not knowing if he’s working on it, not knowing if he’s going in the direction he ought to go…that’s debilitating.

Here’s the argument against the simple “just have faith.”

God, it seems, is perfectly willing to let His people rot. When they get to Heaven what will He say? Will He say that a lifetime of misery and poverty and unfulfilled potential was ultimately worth it in the end? Will it turn out to, secretly, be some grand blessing? Oh, it’s easy to tell a man that when you’re zipping along through life with a purpose. But it’s very difficult to simply trust God when all evidence seems to suggest He’ll let us die, He’ll let our families be destroyed, He’ll take everything from us and never replace it. God cares for a grand esoteric vision that’s unintelligible to mere mortals, and it’s entirely possible (in fact, even likely) that our unending misery is an intricate part of it. And He cares far more for that divine tapestry than for our happiness. Maybe (so the demons suggest) His way of loving us is to keep us humiliated, constantly under the boot of an evil circumstance? If that’s what we have to expect, then how can we hop out of bed in the morning with a spring in our step and whistling tunes?

Why the hell don’t angels ever put a response in my head?

Where are *they*?

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2 Responses to The Formula

  1. Lynda says:

    Read the lives of the saints. The liturgical year places before us the lives of the saints through their feast days. We are to meditate upon these lives. God is revealed in his power and wonder in the lives of his saints.

    On June 26, those in the darkness of Islam will be celebrating bloody Eid a Fitr. The Christians will be remembering the Christic light of St Pelagius a Visigothic Christian of occupied Spain. St Pelagius was taken hostage at age 10 in Cordova and imprisoned for three years. During that time, the Muslims recognised his natural gifts. He was martyred for the faith at age 13 years for refusing to convert to Islam and take the favoured place offered to him in the Islamic society of Cordova. He preferred our Lord’s Cross to the wealth and position that could have been his in Cordova.

    Sadly the whole world seated in wickedness (1 John 5:19) – and now that the secrets are revealed do we ever know it – and it has plenty of humiliations and oppressions for those who would confess and live the holy faith. We are to depend upon our Saviour and our King for the power to overcome this, to extend the hand of help and service to others.

    God provides. Look to the Holy Family. Consider the St Joseph staircase.

    Amazing St Joseph Staircase

    Ask St Joseph the glorious patriarch of the Holy Family for his help and for his prayers. As the patron of our Lord’s universal Church, he has a specific ministry to the heads of households, the fathers and husbands who must shoulder the responsibilities of a family.

    How many bills all over the Christian world are placed weekly before the icon of the Holy Family with petitions for our Lord’s Divine providence and for the prayers of the Blessed Virgin mother and St Joseph. And these petitions are answered.

    God has not promised to fulfil the American dream. He has promised much more and very often that ‘much more’ is given through quite humble circumstances.

  2. Hey Shotgun, don’t you remember satan’s subtle character mentioned in Gen. 3? Oh he’d love for us to meditate on the idea of God wanting us to suffer from one evil circumstance to the next, the ultimate mindset of stagnant hopelessness. I honestly think the best of saints are brought to the most challenging seasons, times in our lives where there is only one option, to persevere, having grace that leads to Godly peace that passeth all understanding Php 4:6,7.

    If the chief end was our happiness we’d really be in trouble right? Or really expecting anything more than what is ordained, I mean taking for granted what is the case and being fixed on what (we’d like to think ) “ought” to be the case, what a burden.

    Every season of our battles, through all the little movements and side-tracks the goal of the believer is to stay fixed on the Author and the Finisher of our faith. As hard as it seems at times.

    A good verse I meditate on through battles and when those “demons” try putting things into my head:
    2Co_10:5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;….

    It’s kinda like the trickster god argument. Well, there is a trickster “God’s will” argument too if you think about it, both are pointless and only fit to be rejected in our thinking.



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