From the work in progress Life: A Book About Learning to Live
By Jim Rosemergy
Faith grows in the dark.
Faith, it is said, is like a seed because it grows, but let us not forget that although a seed may reach for the light, it sprouts in the dark. Its first reach is not up but down as it roots itself in the earth. Faith grows not when I know my way, but when I do not. It grows in times of mystery, when darkness is all around me. And so, faith and mystery are eternally linked.
I used to think faith was something I lacked. If I had faith, I believed, good things would happen to me. I’d be healed, make wise decisions, discover love, and find the perfect job. Now I believe that faith is not knowing what is going to happen, but knowing that no matter what happens, I am one with a power greater than myself.
Faith isn’t something I will have; it is something I do have. It just has to grow. I learned this in times of darkness and mystery. I learned that I am either nurturing my faith and helping it to grow or misplacing it, so it remains dormant and only a possibility.
Usually when all is well, my belief is in myself and in earthly things and resources, but when I am greatly challenged by life, eventually I realize that no earthly resource can deliver me, and I feel inadequate and desperate. At first, there may be despair, but it is in these dark times that the faith I once placed in myself is properly placed in the mysterious realm of an unseen presence, power, and possibility.
In this way, faith and mystery are joined. Mystery may appear alone; in fact, it may appear to be the only thing, but always nearby is faith because it is eternally linked to mystery. And if you ask someone with a mighty faith how he came to such a life, he will tell you, “Faith grew in the dark times of my life. Eventually, I learned to embrace the mystery and to let go of specific outcomes. It is better, I found, to make friends with the unknown path and to expect it to eventually reveal a sunlit way.”
Because faith grows in the dark, I do not try to flee from mystery or my challenges. I stand firm. What else can I do? What other course can deliver me? So I stand firm, let go, and let the mystery enfold me, and I know that unseen forces are at work in my life. My willingness is to work in harmony with them. If I feel guided to act, I act, but if I sense no clear direction, I rest in the mystery, and let faith grow. I know that faith is growing when I sense I am not alone and that there is an answer. These are the signs that the seed has sprouted. Darkness could not contain it.