|Faith, what is it, how do I get it?
Mar 29, 2012
Hello, I am thankful for this website as it affords me the opportunity to ask a question regarding faith.
I am a 48 year old, single gay male who lives alone was raised Catholic but does not practice (don't know if that makes a difference). Although I have a basic belief in a "God", at best this belief is tenuious. Perhaps it may be more accurate to say that I have hope that there is a God as I want to believe that there is more to my life than just the "luck of the draw", that there is more to this existence than the intellectual understanding that for every action there is a corresonding reaction. I also struggle with faith. I was diagnosed as positive for HIV approximately one year ago, a diagnosis which was very devastating. I have struggled hugely with depression, isolated myself and prayed to God that this were not so. Well, prayers aside, I am HIV positive. I have been seeing a psychiatrist for my depression but the counseling has been only marginally helpful. My prayers for a more positive outlook in all aspects of my life, my diagnosis have been to no avail. Now the Dr. I am seeing places great store in "faith", that there is more to my life than just a diagnosis. He tells me he believes that there is a greater reason for my life, that although we cannot see that now, it will become clear at some point in the future or at least I must have the "faith" that this will be so.
I believe that God has given each and every one of us a brain with which to think, hopefully rationally, and a conscience with which to direct our lives responsibly. Obviously I did not regularly use my brain to apply responsible action or I would not be HIV infected today. As you may have noted thus far I still blame myself for my condition, but I am getting over this. Irrespecitve of the fact that that my Dr. tells me that I did not deserve HIV, my reality is that I have it and I am afraid of its ultimate end.
What I struggle with every day is this ethereal thought of faith and in many ways with God 'himself'. I really don't know what "faith" is. I do not know how to develop it, to foster it, to nourish it. Faith has to be just more than "thought". If so what is it? What practical everyday things can I do to develop it? I need answers to these questions. I need to be able to look upon the future with hope, to live my life day to day with joy and happiness for I have neither hope nor happiness in my life. My life is ruled by trepidation and fear of what will happen. Please help me, what practical things can I do day to day in my life to change this? How can I continue my life in a positive vain? How can I live my life day to day without fear of the future? If this takes faith then back to my question, what is it, how do I get it, how do I foster it. Thank you for this,
"Positive in Canada"
Response from Rev. Brown
Dear Positive in Cananda: First let me say that this is a question that we all struggle with at one point or another in our life. It is a question that does have an answer, and it starts with something you said in your question which is a basic belief in God. This is where faith begins and has it roots. Faith simply is our belief, confidence, and trust in God. It starts basic with just believing that God exists and as we grow and nurture our faith it grows from believing to knowing, experiencing, and enjoying a relationship with a God who is in love with us. I say your doctor is right that even with being positive there is still a purpose for your life and great things to come from you life as many who are HIV positive live very long fulfilling lives. As we understand that faith is belief, confidence and trust in God we move to how you get it. You get it the moment that you believe which you already do so now it is how you go about growing it. The ways to grow our faith are through the following: Prayer which is simply communication with God, fellowship with others who believe in God as it serves as encouragement to us and grows our faith. Life experience also grows our faith as we learn more about ourselves we also learn things about God. It is just like the first time you sat in a chair you had to trust that it would hold you even though you hadn't yet sat down, but you believed or had faith that it could and now you enjoy the benefit of a chair. It is the same with God you try God and you find that God can love you, keep you, encourage you, and supply you with joy each and everyday.
Do you think God will put those who commit suicide in Hell?
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