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Fire & Faith

“Just as a small fire is extinguished by the storm whereas a large fire is enhanced by it – likewise a weak faith is weakened by predicament and catastrophes whereas a strong faith is strengthened by them.” – Viktor E. Frankl

This sentence really sneaks up on you, because you really have to give it some thought and exploration. You would think that any fire, of any size would be extinguished by a storm. But then it dawned on me that what he was referring to was the wind itself in the storm. A strong wind will blow a weak fire out as it roars by. But a strong fire is whipped up by the fire to even greater heights. A strong fire actually creates a wind within itself.

So someone with a strong faith will do things that they never thought possible, even risking their life to save others. The hero is actually birthed by the strong faith. This isn’t necessarily a faith in oneself or a higher spiritual being, although both of those play into it. It is a strong faith in the idea itself that is being defended. It is the passionate belief of the individual along with those other things that are always talked about.

The woman who lifts an automobile off her child doesn’t have strong faith in that moment that she can lift the car, and probably doesn’t even have a thought about how heavy the car is. What she has strong faith in, is that she will do anything to protect that child and at the moment that means, lifting hundreds of pounds like it is a sack of potatoes. If asked she will say that it was a miracle of God, or that she doesn’t know how it happened.

In Viktor Frankl’s time it was what motivated people to save people of a different religion that they didn’t know, at the risk of their lives and of their families lives. That strong faith could have come from a religious belief; from saving the children who were at risk; from the value of a human life – no matter whose life it was; from a combination of these things and others that they were personally passionate about. But the strong storm of the Nazi regime was the motivating wind of destruction that struck a cord within them that said, “no more” can I stand by and do nothing.

Today in your life, what are you willing to give thought to and apply that strong faith to, and change in your life or the lives of others from that same place?