Faith Is Not A Feeling
This excerpt is taken from my friend / fellow aritst / producer extraordinaire Je'kob Washington's new site, which he is releasing in conjunction with his new EP collection - Faith, Love, and Hope. Je'kob is a pioneer in his field. I believe in what he's doing, and hope and pray God uses him mightily. I want to encourage each of you to share your story. People need to hear your stories of faith, hope, and love - please share :-)
My family and I came to the United States in December of 1985, after escaping death in our native country of Sri Lanka. We are the minority race – Tamils. The government stripped the rights of all Tamils, and began an ”unofficial” ethnic cleansing in the capital of Sri Lanka in 1983. They burned our house, burned our cars, and threatened to kill my entire family. We escaped because my beautiful mother is a hustler, and sweet talked her way out of the hands of the terrorists. We fled to the United States for a better life. We are grateful for America, despite its own history of oppression and racism.
In 1993, when I was 9 years of age, I lost my mother to cancer. She was the foundation of our family. When you lose your mother at age 9, your life looks different. There are not enough pages to describe this type of suffering. There are not sufficient words to describe what it feels like to see your mother in a grave.
I do not come from a Christian family. My father’s side of the family is Hindu. My mother was Christian. I grew up in a religiously mixed home. Conviction was a function of culture, rather than a real experience with the Creator. Most Christians are Christian because their family was Christian. Most Muslims and Muslim because their family was Muslim. The list goes on. Do you believe in what you believe because this is what your family handed down to you? *Pause. This should make you question every fiber of your beliefs. Were you chosen to believe the truth? What if your parents don’t believe the ”truth?” Does that make what they handed down to you a lie? Why do you believe in what you believe? Why is what you believe true?
I am a Christian. But I will never identify with what most of the West understands as Christianity. I do not believe in spoon-fed religion. I do not believe in justifying your political beliefs with supposed religious conviction. I do not believe in a world-view based on strictly your own experiences. I cannot claim mere heritage as my faith. I do not know that faith – but I am not opposed to it either. It is very special to be able to hand down what you believe to your family. My hope is that this handing down would lead into a deeper wrestling for each and every recipient of your faith.
Faith is not a feeling. It cannot be. Most of my early life was filled with extreme trauma and hopelessness. Yet a fire was forming. It was becoming all encompassing within my heart, mind, and soul.
It feels impossible to talk about faith without hope and love – because the nature of God’s love is to pursue – and to pursue with everything His love has to offer. God found me in the midst of my misery. He found me when I could not find Him. He rescued me despite my filthy attempts at gaining righteousness. He became my mother, father, sister, brother, and air. When you experience love, you experience hope. When you experience hope, you have the capacity for faith.
I am not fully sure why I was given the ability to ”choose” into faith. It is interesting to note that the children of Israel could not remember the miracle they experienced at the Red Sea, and started to grumble at the first sign of the wilderness. It seems as though the works of God are not sufficient for our humanity to keep believing – to start moving in our faith. How do you question God’s goodness after He delivered you from slavery and parted an ocean for you? We do it all the time. Our faith is unstable – it is unsure – it is full of holes. we have to be constantly met by God in order for our faith to rise. This is not always a bad thing. This can be our best ally.
Faith is to be sure of what you hope for, and to believe in things you cannot see. Faith comes by hearing the word of God. I believe our faith can be increased by being intimate with God. I believe faith and intimacy go hand in hand. I believe you need the anointing of the Holy Spirit to have faith. Otherwise, you become reliant on the principles of the Bible and the good things Jesus has to say. Without sounding too heretical, these things are shared in other religions as well – The distinctive thing about the Christian faith is the power of the Holy Spirit – ask for it, as if it is the most precious gift – and do not be happy until you get it.
I believe in the dark night of the soul. God is preparing us. He is training us to become one with Him. This union with Him involves so many heart-wrenching detachments. We can feel abandoned and perplexed. We can feel lost and discouraged. In the midst of this, we must believe that God is actually making us more faithful. We are faithful, because He is faithful. We cannot separate our faith from our darkness. Faith is not a feeling, but it is here that we develop a real feel for God – a deep sense and intimacy with Him that cannot fully be described in words.
May we never be afraid to wrestle with God – deeply, faithfully, and with our entire hearts. If our faith can move mountains, I’m wondering why many mountains still remain where they are. Peace, and ever so much love to you – Jeevo.