The Power of Faith

Published: April 8, 2020

By Jim Lichtman
Image
Read More

During these extraordinary times, it’s easy to become overwhelmed with anxiety and fear. Will I be safe? Will my family be safe? How will I pay for food, rent, mortgage? When will it end?

In his ground-breaking book, Man’s Search for Meaning, holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl describes his heartbreaking loss in a letter to friends after his liberation from Auschwitz.

“I have only sad news to communicate,” Frankly writes, “shortly before my departure from Munich, I learned that my mother was sent to Auschwitz a week after me. What that means, you know all too well. And I had scarcely arrived in Vienna when I was told that my wife is also dead. … So now I’m all alone. Whoever has not shared a similar fate cannot understand me. I am terribly tired, terribly sad, terribly lonely. I have nothing more to hope for and nothing more to fear.”

However, in the same letter, Frankl wrote these remarkable words:

“I take nothing away from my former affirmation of life, when I experience the things I have described. On the contrary, if I had not had this rock-solid, positive view of life —what would have become of me in these last weeks, in those months in the camp? But I now see things in a larger dimension. I see increasingly that life is so very meaningful, that in suffering and even in failure there must still be meaning.”

In the depths of loss and depression, Frankl teaches us that life remains meaningful.

Although faith is not an ethical value, its importance in driving ethical conduct should not be underestimated. In fact, the word faith comes from the Latin word, fidere, meaning ‘to trust.’

Trusting can sometimes be difficult, but it can uplift and strengthen our resolve to reach beyond ourselves to overcome momentary egocentric fear and open up to seeing ourselves in another. It’s acting “outside ourselves,” as former Marine Captain Dale Dye says.

“Faith,” Rev. Gaylon McDowell tells us, “is our ability to see the possibilities of life. Faith sees ideas where fear sees disbelief. Faith sees opportunities where fear sees obstacles. Faith sees potential where fear sees problems. Faith sees abundance where fear sees lack and limitation.”

During times of fear and uncertainty, we can look outside ourselves and accept that change is inevitable. If we can accept  change and maintain faith, we can remove fear.

“Everything,” Frankl writes, “can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”

Comments

  1. Oh yes Jim, such a great quote from Dr. Frankl: ““Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude.”

Leave a Comment



Read More Articles
The Latest... And Sometimes Greatest
Justice Thomas Has a Big Problem and So Do We
My wife is the president of a local non-profit organization. As such I attend many of the functions she takes part in. Frequently, I am...
October 4, 2022
Hurricane Ian Reminds Us of All That is Good
Attending a Padres/Dodgers game in San Diego, I’m sitting next to a die-hard Padres fan. Despite my lifelong Dodger fever, we shared laughs, baseball stories...
September 30, 2022
Books Unite Us, Censorship Divides Us
“The reading of all good books is like a conversation with the finest minds of past centuries. — Rene Descartes, 16th century French Mathematician While...
September 27, 2022
Will Donald Trump Finally Get His Comeuppance?
Is there any Rubicon, despicable, illegal or otherwise, that Trump could cross that would change the hearts and minds of loyalists? Fox pundit Sean Hannity...
September 23, 2022
Fraud at the Polls?
The cancer of false conspiracies, lies, and cynicism eating away at the Republic—lies propagated and fed by the former president and his allies—has metastasized to...
September 20, 2022
“I. Do. Not. Like. Bullies.”
That’s Arizona Republican and Speaker of the House . . . correction, former Speaker of the House, Rusty Bowers who had been abruptly shown the...
September 16, 2022