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I sat in the emergency room of Washington Regional Hospital. My wife had rushed me there by car rather than by ambulance. I had passed out. Anytime you awaken flat on your face, it can cause concern. As for me, I felt fine, but my wife was alarmed. While waiting, I realized I was feeling no fear. I had peace. Why? I know Jesus! He passed through death for me and shares his life with me. I had no regrets or fears, only a task yet to finish. I joked with the staff (all excellent, by the way).

If all we hope for is in this life only, we're facing a sad ending. "He who dies with the most toys wins." The underlying truth in that phrase? "Dies." When you die, someone else gets your toys. Even if you're enjoying health, wealth, and happiness, the end reveals frailty, that life is temporary. Our body will age, our friends will be gone, and our power to control our destiny ends. How do we overcome death's humiliation? How do we relate to a realm greater than the visible? How do we live for something that endures beyond life?

The answer is faith. Faith is the only means by which humans connect with a higher power, with a greater purpose than survival and with the One True God. That last part is vital, since a lot of people put their faith in a philosophy, a creed, religious deeds, or in some biblical doctrine. Those things, while good, still miss the mark. Faith brings freedom and a gift, eternal life, which is in Christ Jesus.

God is invisible. He is spirit. Although he is a person, you can't relate to him like you do with other people. I can touch my wife or smell her perfume. I can call my son on the phone and hear his voice. I can see internet pictures of my daughter on vacation. But with God, I must believe that he is there and that he hears me despite being unseen. I can only do this one way - by faith.

What is faith? How does it work? Why is it important? If I need faith, how do I get it? Jesus said, "Have faith in God." The scriptures say, "Without faith it is impossible to please God."

I've spent 50 years of my life discovering the answer. While I don't know everything, I'm satisfied with what I've learned. I'm happy with how it works for me. Faith is very practical. It brings me to God. It gives me answers to prayers. It frames my life with a boundary between what is now and what is yet to come, so that the dilemmas and difficulties of life - which we all experience - are set into context.

The Bible is a collection of writings by people encountering God. They came to faith when God revealed himself to them in visions, dreams, prophecies, or angels. Faith comes by hearing a word from God. His word creates. He made the world. He made Israel. He created the church. In the historic fulfillment of his promises, the greatest revelation was Jesus. Jesus now writes his word in our hearts and lives.

Faith in God is more than a belief. It is a functional relationship with a person, the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the fountainhead of faith. As he creates faith in us by his powerful word, we can be sincere believers without hypocrisy. Our faith in God will grow. We can even receive the gift of faith from the Holy Spirit.

RON WOOD IS A WRITER AND MINISTER. CONTACT HIM AT WOOD.STONE.RON@GMAIL.COM OR VISIT WWW.TOUCHEDBYGRACE.ORG. THE OPINIONS EXPRESSED ARE THOSE OF THE AUTHOR.

Religion on 08/08/2018

Print Headline: Where Is Your Hope Placed? Faith In God Brings Hope In Life

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