By Boy Villanueva, BCBP Cebu South
When we make our commitment to the BCBP and sign our Commitment Card, we commit and believe that going into the BCBP Way of Life will increase our prayer life, our faith, our spirit of joy and thanksgiving.
But what is faith?
Faith is a complete trust, confidence and reliance in God. It is a firm belief that does not need proof, a yearning from the bottom of one’s heart for God’s kingdom to come. It means absolute allegiance, loyalty and fidelity to God no matter under what circumstance. It also means living the truth.
I asked God if there is something wrong with my prayer time. The Lord replied: “There is nothing wrong with your prayer; it is your faith in me that is wanting.”
Living the truth and in our faith means being one with Christ. When we do our worship and prayers, do we have faith that God is really with us? How many times when I lead the prayers and worship did I say that God is with us, seated beside us, blessing and talking to us. But do I, do we, have that true faith that He is really, really with us?
In my reflections, I have come to realize that there are times in my life, more so during times that I am being tested by the Lord, that I lack the true faith that God has been inviting me to. Yes, I have faith in Him. But during times of trials and hardships, I sometimes question God’s wisdom and even forget about my prayer time during the lowest times in my life.
As I grow with the Lord in my service with the community, I have come to understand that the trials that I have encountered in the last twenty years I have been in the community are a way of making my faith stronger for the Lord.
In the book “Inquiring Faith” by Tadeusz Dajczer, I remember these lines. “In order for faith to become strong, it must be tried; it must go through a crucible of experiences, through many trials and storms. A shallow faith dependent solely on education, feelings and certain habits, collapses in the face of difficulties. In trials of faith, God wants a person who believes to become stripped of that which was not faith, but which was only a support of faith.”
As I grow in faith, I pray that the Lord will help me grow stronger in my faith and remove my doubts through my service in the BCBP community, relationships in my family, and with my brothers and sisters in the community, most of all in knowing that God is always in my life especially during the times I am leading Action Group Meetings and worship.
During one of my prayer times as I was beginning my rosary prayer and reflection, I came to fully understand the Lord’s message to me regarding my doubts about my prayer and my faith. I came to understand that I have doubts because I have failed to realize and cherish the blessings the Lord has given, not only to me but also to my family. Joy and thanksgiving should have been my attitude, not the doubts that I had been contemplating on during my prayer time.
Failing to appreciate God’s gifts puts doubts in our minds, and we start questioning our faith and even our prayers. We keep on looking at others so much that we are blind to what we already have and to the blessings that the Lord has continued to shower upon us.
Matthew 6:21 says, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will also be.” I tend to forget that material things are only temporary in this world. More than the material things it is the contentment with what we have, the pleasant relationship we have with our families and friends, and our enjoyment in our service to the Lord that count most in our lives in this world. We are often reminded in scripture that we should always appreciate what the Lord has given us, giving him thanks and praise. For He says, “I will always give you the things that you need not the things that you wanted.”
These are the best weapons we can have against the evil and darkness in the world around us: prayer, faith, joy and thanksgiving. I know now that it is the attitude of joy and thanksgiving to our Lord our God for all the daily blessings and the wonderful things He has done for me and my family that wash away my doubts. These weapons strengthen my prayer time and my personal relationship with our Lord and, at the same time, these weapons increase my faith and trust in my God.
To God be the Glory.
Source: Kaignuonan, the BCBP Cebu South newsletters of September and November 2013