Even in our darkest valleys we will determine to take God at his word. It means that even when we don’t know what to do or where to go, we will look to God with faith and, as either an immediate instinct or a deliberate act of the will, anchor ourselves on the One who has promised that his every word proves true and reliable, that he will shelter and protect all those who run to him for refuge.
What does it mean to have faith? What does it mean to believe in God’s promises? What does it mean to have confidence that God is who he says he is and that God will do what he says he will do? What is the nature of that faith, that belief, that confidence?
There are times during this long and wearying pilgrimage when we undergo severe tests of our faith—tests that are often related to our losses and bereavements. Even if we are never tempted to cast off all allegiance to Christ or to throw away all desire to follow in his ways, we may still be challenged to believe—or not believe—that what God says is true—true about life and death, true about earth and heaven, true about time and eternity. We may face the kind of challenge that calls us to live in one way if we believe and to live in another if we do not.
There are days when we believe as an instinct, as the natural impulse of the heart and mind. In such days we easily and immediately regard it as unassailably true that heaven is real, that Providence is kind, that God is working all things for good, that even our deepest griefs will someday prove to be light and momentary afflictions when measured against an eternal weight of glory.
But then there are days when we believe as a decision, as an act of the will. While some days the most instinctual words out of our mouths are confident, other days they are hesitant.