I think that each one of us has a particular anchor to our faith. For some it is a rationalistic conclusion about the design of the universe. For others, it is a feeling they get when the read the Scripture. Still, for others, it is a particular experience that they have in their lives.
When we have doubt, skepticism, and moments of weakness in our faith (and we all do), we search for a place to go, for solid footing somewhere. I often lay my head down on my pillow at night and have a fleeting thought, “What if none of this is true? What if I am wasting my time? What if Jesus is not real? What if God does not exist?” This will normally come after a day of discouragement. When bills are not getting paid, when I have spent the day with my invalid mother, or when I just don’t feel too spiritually connected to God. The thought is “fleeting” not because I suppress it to the back of my mind in order to live in a state of cognitive dissonance, closing my mind and shouting at the doubt in Jesus’ name, but precisely because I intentionally place it at the front of my mind. I want to deal with it. And in dealing with it, there are many things that quickly drown out the doubt, or at least the most significant part of it. There is an anchor to my faith that won’t let me drift.
I think that each one of us needs to be balanced in regard to this, seeking to find many anchors in many places. For example, my primary anchor is the historicity of resurrection of Christ. I am not just saying this to appear academic. It truly is. My doubts quickly fade when I think to myself, “Oh yeah, Christ rose from the grave. What do I do with that?” I look at all of the evidence for the resurrection as objectively as possible and I cannot conclude anything other than that this event actually happened. To deny it, opting for some possible yet improbable alternative, would be an irresponsible use of my reason and judgment. The evidence is simply overwhelming. This anchors my faith more than anything else.
As well, I will often look to the existence of everything and conclude that things do not just come into being without a sufficient cause. The evidence for God is clearly seen, being understood thought all of creation (isn’t there a verse that says something like that? 🙂 ) In my mind, if something exists, God exists. Something does exist, therefore God exists. Its pretty simple.
Third, and last, I look to my experience of God. This, personally, is the weakest of all my anchors since it is the most subjective. However, there are certain times in my life when I feel that I have experienced God somewhat dramatically. Nope. Never seen him. Never heard him audibly. Never even gotten one of those nice clear voices in my head. But, there are minor things that have happened in which I find a bit of an anchor. For example, when I was 9 years old, I went to a cake-walk where you walk around 36 squares all with a number in them. The music played and you walked around. When it stopped, you found yourself on a particular number. Then they called out the number that is drawn randomly. If you were on that number, you won a cake. Well, there I was, wanting a cake and ready to test the Lord. I said, “Lord, if you are really there, let me win this cake-walk right now.” They called out the number and guess what? It was mine. Still unsure, I did it again. “God, nice, but you are going to have to do it again.” Sure enough, I won again. A third time, just to be sure. And I won a third time. When I was young, this was very significant. Now it is only slightly so. (BTW: went back the next year said the same prayer and lost every time!)
I am sure that many of you have your anchors, maybe like mine or maybe more experience based.
I am curious. When you have doubts as you lay your head down on the pillow at night, what is the anchor of your faith?
(P.S. Before any one of you is super spiritual and says that yours is the Holy Spirit, stop. The Holy Spirit is the power behind your anchor, no matter what it is. This is assumed.)