There are many ways to look at faith and what it means. The Book of Hebrews says that “faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen”. Throughout the Bible there are constant references to the power of faith. You can observe most biblical figures demonstrating enormous faith. I recall using the words of St. Paul, who was then in prison in Rome, as he wrote encouragement to the church at Philippi, a small city in Greece. I used his quote, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me”.
There is a new book called “Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance” by Angela Duckworth. She argues that the secret to outstanding achievement is not just talent but what she calls “grit”. As I thought about it from my own experience, it is not always the smartest and the most talented who succeed; it is in many cases those who have a special blend of passion and persistence that allows you to stay focused on your goal.
It was certainly that kind of tenacity and resolution and endurance that allowed me to finally wear a stole around my neck and continue doing what I love to do all these years. It is also a quality of people who showed me the way in my life. No matter where you find yourself, looking at a goal or a challenge, our faith tells us that we are not alone in that journey.
The Buddha said, “All of life is suffering”. It rings true to me, but what else rings true to me are the words of Scripture, “With God nothing is impossible.” I received advice never to reject an idea because it’s impossible. Many people said that building an extended education wing at St. John’s was impossible. Some people may have suggested that Marvin Henk becoming a minister was wrong and impossible. Faith never tells you to tone down your aspirations, rather it encourages you to be an inspiration and to show others the true grit of your convictions.