Emun/Emunah: Revisiting FAITHFULNESS

I find that FAITH is one of those words that everyone loves, but no one really thinks about. When someone says, “Have faith,”  what they’re really saying is, “Don’t worry about it.” Having faith is like trusting that everything will be all right. But everything is not alright. And people are losing faith simply because life is hard. If we put our faith in life being smooth, then we’re in for a lot of heartbreak.

So what is faith? Why do we need it? Why is it good for the soul?

One of my favourite television characters was the Christian missionary, Shepherd Derrial Book, in the science fiction show, Firefly. Shepherd Book carefully built relationships with everyone on the space craft, including the enigmatic, young, empathic prodigy named River Tam. One day, Shepherd finds River tearing pages out of his Bible.

Shepherd Book: What are we up to, sweetheart?

River: Fixing your Bible.

Book: I, um… What?

River: Bible’s broken. Contradictions, false logistics – doesn’t make sense.

Shepherd Book: No, no. You-you-you can’t…

River: So we’ll integrate non-progressional evolution theory with God’s creation of Eden. Eleven inherent metaphoric parallels already there. Eleven. Important number. Prime number. One goes into the house of eleven eleven times, but always comes out one. Noah’s ark is a problem.

Shepherd Book: Really?

River: Well have to call it early quantum state phenomenon. Only way to fix 5000 species of mammal on the same boat.

Shepherd Book: River, you don’t fix the Bible.

River: It’s broken. It doesn’t make sense.

Book: It’s not about making sense. It’s about believing in something, and letting that belief be real enough to change your life. It’s about faith. You don’t fix faith, River. It fixes you.

Image (sans words) by Tania Malrechauffe

In an age where we highly value empirical evidence, it’s a wonder that faith has such a hold on us. Why do we put such stock in what we cannot see or taste or touch?

Most people have faith in something. If they do not have faith in a Creator God who loves them they, at the very least, probably have faith in a few humans who love them. But humans are not, as a general rule, the most reliable examples of faithfulness. In contrast, the Bible tells us that YHWH is always reliable in His faithfulness. Every promise He makes He fulfills… and that includes the beautiful promise of His love for us:

Hosea 2:19-20, 23b

[YHWH:] I will betroth you to Me foreverYes, I will betroth you to Me in righteousness and in justice, in favour and in compassion, and I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness [bey-emunah]. Then you will know YHWH…  

…I will also have compassion on her who had not obtained compassion, and I will say to those who were not My people, ‘You are My people!’ And they will say, ‘You are my God!’

The Bible presents God as a Creator who loves, and is faithful to, every single human He created. It’s the story of a faithful Husband who would give up His life for His Bride. For more on the beautiful Biblical representation of faithfulness, click on the word below:


Next week: Craftsman/Carpenter

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