“At the risk of considerable oversimplification, we may say that all the rest of the Christian life is concerned with the progressive purification of this initial act of faith. This is what all the fearful dark nights described by St John of the Cross are about. We have to be stripped of everything that contaminates the essential recognition that God is God.
This means, for instance, that we must learn to place our trust simply in the fact that God is God; we must be weaned from that kind of trust which rests largely or even partly on the feeling of trust, or on the evidence that supports trust. My faith must not be in my own faith, but simply in the objective reality of God himself.” (Tugwell, Simon. Prayer in Practice. Springfield: Templegate Publishers, 1974, p. 112-13.)
“We have to be stripped of everything that contaminates the essential recognition that God is God.” I fear that too often my faith has been faith in my own faith rather than simple faith in God. We believe in certain formulations or statements of faith. Or we believe because of certain feelings of faith. My faith is in Yahweh, the God Who simply is—“I am.” My faith can end up being in my perception or experience of God rather than in God alone. Even writing that last sentence leaves me feeling uncertain. How can I know God beyond my ideas and feelings? In a way, I can’t apart from God’s allowing my ideas and feelings to be less stimulating, drawing me to distance myself some from them as my primary source of confidence. There is a simpler, quieter faith in God than the noisy arguments and dramatic experiences of faith we sometimes seek.
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