Why is faith so important to God? Why does He have to “hide” from us? After all, in other relationships, people who love us reveal themselves to us and are personally involved in our lives. Why would God seemingly do the opposite?
I don’t have the official answer, but I’d love to take a stab at it. Let’s imagine that God revealed Himself to everyone out of love for them. It’s kind of funny to write that out because you could understand it two ways: God HAS revealed Himself to everyone through Jesus Christ, yet God HASN’T personally revealed Himself to everyone in the same way that people reveal themselves to each other.
Faith is important because we haven’t experienced God in a very tangible way, even very active Christians like myself. I don’t have to have faith that my laptop exists, it’s right here in front of me. I can touch it, it functions how I’d expect a laptop to, it makes noises, etc. Since God doesn’t often reveal Himself in a tangible way to us, we need faith to believe in Him because He isn’t someone we can see or hear. This faith isn’t as unreasonable as some people might say it is. We also use the same type of faith to trust that the brakes in our car are working.. we haven’t checked the brakes every time before we get in the car to even see if they are there, let alone working, before we drive off on our way. We have faith in many things that aren’t God, and it isn’t out of ignorance but out of understanding what makes the most sense. I have faith because I have experienced God. God has revealed Himself to me through the generosity of Christians, the infinite desires in my heart, the reality of the story of Jesus and the Catholic Church- especially Jesus’ life and the lives of the Apostles, prayer (I think I could write a whole post about this one), answered prayers, the complexity of nature and the universe, and of course in the sacraments! With all of these experiences, the only reasonable explanation IS to believe in God!
So why would God value faith? I began this post by pointing out that having faith isn’t just limited to religious things. But there has to be more too it than that. I think that God values faith because it is a test to see if we truly love Him. He will reveal enough of Himself for us to begin to know Him, and He is always running after us (remember, He’s the God who came to us, that’s why Christmas and the Incarnation are such big deals!), but He also gives us enough wiggle room to actually have difficulty in this department. He’s not going to just show up the moment that we are about to do our favorite sin. He’s there cheering us on to do the right thing, but He gives us all free will. He doesn’t force us to believe in Him but lets us find Him.
God does not have us rely on faith to “hide” from us, He is the one seeking us, and I’m only one of many baptized Christians whose job it is to share His message with the whole world. That’s what He commanded us to do in Matthew 28:18-20. If God really wanted to hide from us, He definitely wouldn’t have sent Jesus. Another point of note was that God the Father didn’t even reveal Himself to Jesus, the Son, even at His darkest hour! Jesus participated in the same difficulty that we do!
God likes to see if we actually love and trust Him as much as He loves us. Faith is just one of the methods of His perfect justice and love. He can’t wait to reveal His love to anyone who seeks Him.
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” – Jesus, Matthew 7:7