Keeping the Faith

“Keep the faith.  Some of the most amazing things in life tend to happen just at the moment you’re about to give up hope.”

Well I did and it happened!  A few weeks ago last year’s National League Champions, the Philadelphia Phillies, were 5 and 10 having just lost to Cincinnati.  The team’s current designated hitter, Kyle Schwarber was carrying a .221 batting average while Bryce Harper was still recovering from elbow surgery.  The pitching staff was less than impressive and fielding errors were common. “It’s going to be a long season!”, I lamented to a friend.  He laughed and replied, “It’s still early, keep the faith!”  I nodded my head, smiled, raised my eyes to heaven and quietly said, “Your help would be appreciated.”.  Prayer answered; the Phillies beat Houston Friday night to break the 500 mark and move into 3rd place in the National League East.   I guess there is something to be said for, Keeping the Faith!

The phrase itself is an idiom, commonly understood to imply a continued belief in, trust, or support for someone or something when it is difficult to do so.  Its origin can be traced back to the Bible and the Apostle Paul’s words, written just before his death, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”   This short phrase expressed a powerful affirmation of his unyielding love and undying faith in Jesus and the gospel message.  Perhaps then, it is the origin of this phrase that empowers it as a wish to others, or a commitment we make ourselves.

We live in challenging times. We watch from the sidelines as Russia seeks to dominate Ukraine, a military power struggle in Sudan disrupts a nation and a North Korean leader keeps the Asian-Pacific rim on alert.  The two-party system that has dominated the American political landscape is in shambles with members of each party spending more time demonizing one another rather than seeking bipartisanship   Each day we read or hear of indiscriminate acts of crime and violence that are increasingly becoming more and more common. The term “gun control” is an oxymoron; guns are out of control.  Gun sales are at an all-time high, and there has been little action taken by elected officials to address the issue. And all too often, it appears that there is more that separates us than unites us.  It’s a scenario that is daunting, but I also believe that keeping the faith can be our salvation, because even in the most difficult of times, it is what gives us strength.

From a religious perspective, faith is belief in, trust in and loyalty to God. It is a firm belief in the doctrines of a religion, even in the absence of proof.  From a secular frame of reference faith emphasizes loyalty and commitment.  It can be considered as an allegiance or duty to someone.  In addition, someone can act in “bad faith” when he or she has an intent to deceive.  This contrasts with “good faith”, which holds honest intentions.

With everything happening in our lives, it is not uncommon to have those moments when we face confusion about faith.  It’s much like having a computer and knowing its potential, but not having a clue how to use it; it can be frustrating.  Unfortunately, some have lost faith.  For others, finding reason to have faith is a challenge in and of itself, and at the same time we all know of those who have abundant faith, and are seeking to acquire more.

Keeping the faith in difficult times is important because it provides a sense of hope, meaning, and purpose, even in the face of adversity. It can help us to maintain a positive outlook, to stay motivated, and persevere through tough times..  Likewise, when we arrive on the other side of life’s challenges, we can look back knowing it was “Keeping the faith”  that contributed to a successful outcome.

Whether our faith is rooted in religion, spirituality, or personal convictions, the phrase “Keep the Faith” encourages us to stay grounded in our values and beliefs, and to maintain a sense of perspective and purpose even in the toughest of times.  It can serve as a reminder of what is truly important in our lives, and can help us to maintain a sense of gratitude and appreciation for the blessings that we do have.  Go Phillies!

Keep the Faith
Embrace the Challenge