In a recent personal exploration of faith, I came to an unexpected conclusion: that one can be a person of tremendous religious devotion without being a person of faith.
Typically, these words are used more or less interchangeably. Devout, faithful…same thing.
My revelation emerged from an examination of prayer itself. The act of speaking directly to God and the things that we say.
For the last few decades, my daily prayers have mostly consisted of gratitude. Thanking God for the gifts of the day. I made a conscious shift around the beginning of my yoga journey to stop asking for things that I didn’t have and start saying thanks for the things that I do.
I’d be lying if I said that I never ask–sometimes even beg–God to heal someone. Or that I never ask Him to take away someone’s pain or personal challenges.
And the conundrum that strikes me is: if I am asking God for something–anything, really–it implies that He has not granted something that should have been granted. Or perhaps He is somehow not aware of, or taking care of, people in need…? If I am asking, it means I don’t have true faith in His process and the knowledge that everything will unfold exactly the way He intended.
A highly devout person will pray daily, sometimes many times a day. A highly devout person believes in God and believes in His omnipotence. A highly devout person believes in and prays for His mercy. I will argue, however that devout people may or may not have true faith.
A highly faithful person never has to ask for anything, because s/he knows that everything is exactly as it should be. That everything follows a perfect order and reflects His will.
When you have faith, you submit to God’s wisdom and no longer have to wish or pray for things to be any different than they already are. Life isn’t always pretty. It’s not always kind and it’s certainly not always fair. But my journey to faith reminds me that, as a human, even though I can’t always understand or explain the world, I can strive to accept the Divine Order of it all.