At some point “faith in God” became an unpopular phrase throughout much of the world. There are some very good reasons as to why, but putting aside for a moment how each of us may or may not relate to it, the phrase contains some very valuable wisdom.
To bring it forward, let’s look at the story of King Solomon when he completed the greatest physical structure in Jewish history, the First Temple. At that time, the height, pinnacle, rapturous apex of Jewish history, Solomon offers a peculiar prayer. He basically cites the many instances in which all people (he goes out of his way to be universal in this prayer) will miss the mark of their ideals. The line that sums it up best is “When they sin, for there is no person that does not sin…”. Within each instance of wrongdoing he goes on to describe, he also states that people can always look toward the Temple in the wake of their mistake, change their hearts and God will without fail,uphold their cause, enabling them to move forward and toward fulfilling their personal purpose in this life (for the full story see I Kings Ch.8).
Having considered it closely then, it isn’t really a peculiar prayer at all and looking at it again, “faith in God” may have more to say than at first glance. What the prayer and the phrase both point to are two things. One, we will never get it all right. Two, we should always have faith that whatever it is that is most real, call it “God” or something else, God or that something will always have faith in us – no matter what mistake we might make. Solomon’s lesson on faith is simple and relevant at our highest moments and lowest struggles. All it asks of us is to know that through it all there is something out there, great and mysterious that never stops believing in us.
Ma’aseh/Try it: Faith is strengthened by practice. This week choose a phrase from the Tanakh or siddur that reminds you to have faith in God/The Source of being, who has faith in you. Here are some suggestions:
“Though I fall, I stand up again” (Micah 7:8)
“Strengthen and encourage your hearts, all you who hope in HaShem” (Psalms 31:25, siddur)
“Your rod and support comfort me” (Psalms 23:4, siddur)
Recite it as you begin each day.
Mahshava/Think about it: Take time this week to notice how you’ve grown over the course of this year and how past mistakes have led to developing into who you are now.