Faith3

Faith matters! Yes, but from where comes one’s faith. For me I look to what I will call those “God-moments” that say to me there is something greater at work in this world than just you and me. As I write this, I am enjoying several weeks of skiing in the mountains of Colorado. One cannot help but live in awe of the magnificence of our earth. These rugged snow-covered peaks against the bluebird blue skies promotes one to say as my ten-year old granddaughter Fiona exclaimed when we stopped to catch our breaths, “WOW!”   But it’s not just the beauty of mountains that triggers that response. Ross and I almost daily when looking out at Platte Lake say, “Isn’t it beautiful.” It can be the lake’s glassy surface reflecting the green of summer or the gold and orange of autumn or the reds and purples of a winter sunset on the snowy ice: all trigger the “WOW” response. We are in awe, and in those moments the words of that wonderful old hymn come to mind:

Then sings my soul, My Saviour God to Thee

How great Thou art, how great Thou art.

“God-moments” build my faith. But not just from the beauty of the world surrounding me, but also from those small acts of generosity people show to others. Two experiences come to mind. We had just moved to Springport, Michigan, and had not yet made friends nor did we really even know anyone. Traveling home along I-94 somewhere between Marshall and Albion our car sputtered to a stop. Ross pulled it off the highway and a check under the hood showed some frazzled wires that guaranteed we were not going to get it to start. Who could we call and how? This was way before cell phones. He began walking toward the next highway exit, and I took baby Molly and our dog Mandy up the embankment to the shade of a bush and away from the speeding traffic on the highway. After waiting a half hour or so, a car pulled in behind ours, and a young woman stepped out calling my name, “Dianne.” She knows my name; she must be all right, I thought. This young couple had given Ross a ride to the service station at the next exit. Then they returned for us—no small feat on I-94 where you have to enter and exit at designated ramps often traveling ten miles west in order to return east. But this couple did. And then they drove all of us to our home about twenty miles north of the highway. They would take nothing for their efforts. Another stranger who showed us that unexpected generosity came to our rescue on a subway platform in Budapest, Hungary. After a long day of touring we were weary tourists trying to find our way back to the apartment where we were staying. From which side of the platform should we take the train? All the names appeared to have too many consonants and funny diacritical marks; we were clueless. A young man came forward asking, in accented but clear English, “Can I help you?” After telling him where we needed to go, he quickly escorted us up to the street to a bus stop where he boarded with us traveling to the stop within a few blocks of our apartment. Again, he wanted nothing for his service, and we observed him boarding another bus to return him in the direction from which we had just come. Strangers reaching out to help others—the beauty of our earth: “God-moments” that build faith. Even in a world that is certainly not perfect nor without problems, I can live in faith and say with the poet Robert Burns, “God’s in his heaven, all’s right with the world.”

Author: Dianne Stephenson, dsteph@chartermi.net

P.S. I invite others to volunteer to contribute to “Faith Matters.” When I volunteered to be one of the writers, I truly thought, “What am I doing trying to say something when all the other writers are clergy persons or members of our congregation much more learned in theological issues?” But I guess I stepped out in faith and tried it. I hope that others of you whom I will call the “plain folks of faith” will also try.   Let Bob McQuilkin know, and he will put you in the schedule.