WARNING: This wasn’t an “easy” post,
and you may NOT want to read this.
(But that doesn’t mean you don’t need it!)
Lately, I’ve been into words with the same sound when pronounced but have completely different meanings: homophones. Hello, Wordy and Worthy!? Haha! But the thing is, these words just suddenly appear in my head, complete with a realization or two. And these “epiphanies,” I’ve decided, are also worth sharing through the medium I know best: the written word.
This time, I thought about FAITH and fate. Two words, pronounced the same, but have very different definitions. If we’re going the literal route, here are dictionary-based descriptions:
I don’t know. I’ve always known the meanings of the two aforementioned words, but when I double-checked them on the dictionary, I was reaffirmed that the former has a more positive connotation, whereas the latter is the opposite. Hence my realization: FAITH is greater than fate. At least in this life, it’s better to have “FAITH” in God to lead you where you need to be rather than just believe that what happens to you, whether good or bad, is simply your “fate” — Period. Nada. Dead end. No lessons learned. Just empty acceptance. Confusing, no? Well, that’s what homophones do to you when they’re not “spelled” out. Here’s what I believe, though.
Acceptance is a good thing. But don’t settle for empty acceptance and just “blame” whatever happens to you on fate. Instead, strive to have FAITH that whatever happens to you, yes, good or bad, is all part of God’s grand plan in your life. But of course, this would apply to believers only. What if you’re an unbeliever or you belong to a different religious affiliation?
As a believer, I’ve had “others” question me on my belief. Why did I decide to stay in the Roman Catholic Church? Why do I believe in Jesus Christ? If so, why do I still sin? And more and more questions — all with the goal to try to “break” me.
I’m not going to answer all those questions because at the end of the day, I know what I believe in no matter what others say. However, I want to address the last question I mentioned.
For the last question, if I am so into my faith then why do I still sin?, my answer is, who hasn’t sinned? Now don’t give me “pilosopo”-cal answers. Even Saints have sinned! What’s more important is the awareness of those sins and the commitment to try to avoid doing them again. You see, the problem with us, humans, is we correlate “FAITH” and “religion” to our fellow humans. For example, if someone has “religious” parents, we try to question their parenting skills if somehow, one or all their children turn out to be unbelievers without thinking that even if that’s the case, the children have individual life experiences no matter how connected they are to their parents and vice versa. Another would be if you know someone who claims to be a “believer” and yet still shows un-Jesus-like traits, you would question if his/her belief is all for show — without thinking that yes, maybe, the person’s still struggling and still has to deepen his/her “FAITH” (but that’s not to say it’s all for show!). After all, it’s so easy to blame rather than understand, right? No! So no, we must change the way we correlate “FAITH” and “religion” to what other people do. Heck, we should also change the way we correlate “FAITH” with “religion.” Because no matter what, “FAITH” will still be greater. But as to know the difference, the discernment will only come from your own experience — experience that only God Himself can “gift” to you.
Yes, it all comes down to this: each has his/her own walk of FAITH. You can’t question or compare your walk of FAITH to others’ because you have different experiences. Forcing your belief (or lack thereof) to others will just create a counterproductive result. And that’s where difficult decisions and discernment come in.
As humans, we’ve all been told that experience is the best teacher. True. The same goes for spiritual experience.
Sometimes, spiritual experience is simply something unique to each person that it just can’t be described in words — there’s no other way to realize it but through experience. And if you meet a person who just can’t understand what your spiritual experience is, there’s no point in explaining it because he/she just won’t get it — all because he/she hasn’t experienced it.
It’s easy to exercise “FAITH” when things are going well in our lives. We thank God endlessly. But when God says “no” to a prayer? We tend to revert back to “fate” rather than “FAITH.” And sadly, that’s not real FAITH. Real FAITH is still praising and thanking God for ALL that’s happening in our lives, whether we like it or not. Real FAITH is about reflecting on what God’s making you realize through each good and bad event in our lives.
So when others try to question me, I think and remember that they don’t even know my whole story. Like my story involves both of my parents passing away while I was young, me being diagnosed late last year with a hormonal imbalance (thank God it’s manageable, though!), etc. And yet in all these, I’ve experienced God. I’ve experienced the way He has strengthened me and more in everything that I’ve been through. I’m stronger than they think. And if I made the hard decision to choose God despite everything, so be it.
But they won’t understand that. You, the one reading this, might not even fully understand what I’ve been rambling here. No, because my experience is mine.
I don’t know. Maybe I’m just tired…
But to my fellow believers, yes, FAITH. Focus more on that than fate. Focus more on that than religion. Pray to Jesus to guide you when the enemy tries (believe me, the enemy will always try!) to make you lost. Keep the real FAITH in Jesus Christ. Always.
“Then Jesus told him, ‘Because you have seen Me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.'”