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  • Writer's pictureDennis Gatheright

Is Faith Realistic?

Today when the word faith is mentioned in some academic circles it is referred to as make belief, mythical thinking, false dreams and religious jargon. If faith is real then how can it be activated in our lives because that’s the only way to know if something is real or not? Yet, many will argue against something they have yet to experience. Experience is firsthand knowledge and a familiarity with an occurrence. For example we all have experienced being in stressful situations some come out of it okay and others not so okay. Denial cause many to refuse to reflect and the majority to just chalk it up as “it is what it is” or “that’s life” mentality. How does faith work in stressful situations? Many of us that deal with stressful experiences often use a technique called being resilient.

“A convergence across several research methodologies indicates that resilient individuals have optimistic, zestful, and energetic approaches to life, are curious and open to new experiences, and are characterized by high positive emotionality. Additional evidence suggests that high-resilient people proactively cultivate their positive emotionality by strategically eliciting positive emotions through the use of humor. (

A resilient person is able to recover quickly from setbacks. Why are they able to recover from setbacks? They have trust and confidence in something and this is an experience that is similar to a person having faith in God. The only difference is what their hope is in. Again, the experience is similar but the hope and confidence is dependent upon the source which is generated from a promise.

“Coping researchers have begun to investigate the utility of positive emotions in stressful contexts. A review of recent evidence indicates that positive emotions help buffer against stress. For instance, positive coping strategies, such as positive reappraisal, problem-focused coping, and infusing ordinary events with positive meaning are related to the occurrence and maintenance of positive affect and predict increases in psychological well-being and health. These findings suggest that positive emotions are valuable tools for establishing enhanced outcomes in well-being.” (

This research establishes the fact that some people are using positive emotions and positive coping strategies to deal with stress. Their hope is in the strategies that are used in stressful moments and this is faith in action when confidence is placed on strategies in stressful moments. Again, a believer uses the strategies but put confidence in God more than the positive emotions to help them get through their emotional storm.

What is faith well based on various commentaries on Hebrews 11:1 this is what the majority express;

  • Faith was the principle of holy obedience, remarkable services, and patient sufferings.

  • The object of our hope, are the object of our faith. It is a firm persuasion and expectation, that God will perform all he has promised to us in Christ.

  • The “things hoped for” are not mere figments of the imagination; their basis is the word of God. If we keep this in mind, the words, still remaining general in their form, agree with all that has led up to them and with all that follows; and whether they be called definition or description will be of little consequence.

  • It substantiates promises of God which we hope for, as future in fulfilment, making them present realities to us.

  • The evidence--"demonstration": convincing proof to the believer: the soul thereby seeing what the eye cannot see.

  • The things not seen--the whole invisible and spiritual world: not things future and things pleasant, as the "things hoped for," but also the past and present, and those the reverse of pleasant

  • Faith demonstrates to the eye of the mind the reality of those things that cannot be discerned by the eye of the body. Faith is the firm assent of the soul to the divine revelation and every part of it, and sets to its seal that God is true.

Faith is realistic and accurate unless during the times of stress we are afraid to implement any strategies but flee, fold, or take flight. If we choose to fight during stressful moments then we are committing ourselves to a process of faith where we hope for a victorious result. Now depending upon what we believe this might produce temporary satisfaction and relief to the stress. Yet, trusting in God guarantees peace in the storm and a relief that can only be experience for its actuality with the joy that becomes a reality when we allow God to be in control. The control goes to the only one that can produce results that is upheld by the promises of his word. If we are truthful a lot of our expectations lead to frustration or more disappointments because of limitations. However, with faith in God no matter how stressful the situation may become trusting God promises never lead to disappointment unless we have no knowledge of the promises.

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