How do I have faith

What does belief mean?

Faith means to live everyday life based on trust in God. I seldom talked to my grandfather about faith. But from his way of living I guessed what the sentence "I believe" means.

The wall collapsed and buried him under it. It happened so quickly that he couldn't even escape. And so he lay there now, his legs locked, his upper body covered up, unable to move. And he had a lot of experience in construction. He was a skilled worker.

Then in the intensive care unit the situation came to fruition: his chance of getting away with it - not very good. After the first visit, his wife was given glasses, dentures and shoes to take home. For them, a sign of the threatening nature of his situation. But he did it and recovered. Only his legs wanted and couldn't do that well anymore. Back home, he developed his own therapy: in the pattern on the kitchen floor, the old man discovered “instructions for getting ahead”. By moving forward box by box on the kitchen floor - at first from an armchair and with pain - he slowly regained a good part of his mobility.

Faith and everyday life

My grandfather died long ago, but to this day I have not forgotten his view of life - in difficult as well as in good days. His confidence and humor, his ability to wrest funny things even from the dark, will certainly remain a role model for me. I have with my grandfather - a man with a very modest schooling! - very rarely talked about questions of faith. But through his way of life, through his way of perceiving people and events and shaping life, I had an inkling of what the phrase “I believe” can mean.

Believing and learning to believe is connected with life - with all its challenges and demands. The further away a belief is from everyday life, the greater the risk of narrowing oneself and belief.

I am meant

The creed begins with the two words "I believe". The word "I" brings myself into play - me with my story and my life experiences. “I believe” means on the one hand: I believe with my strengths and weaknesses, with my hopes and fears. The “I” also indicates that someone else should not and cannot believe for me: I have good reasons why I believe! The “I” also focuses on those people who, through their example of life, made my personal yes to faith possible and accessible in the first place.

Get involved

But what is meant by the word "believe"? What does it mean when I say: I believe? The Bible likes to paraphrase “faith” with relational words such as: trust, shelter, make yourself firm, hope. Faith therefore means trust, more precisely: a well-founded trust! Because this belief encompasses all of my “I”, it is a matter of the mind, the spirit, and the will. It includes my thinking, questions and doubts. In the biblical sense, “faith” means something dynamic, namely the whole person's getting involved with God - that God who has reliably proven himself to be the “I-am-there” over millennia - in difficult times as well as in good times.

Source: Stefan Schlager, Theological Adult Education