Reality check: life is as beautiful as it is complicated. More often than not, difficult situations can shake us to the core, but fear not, faith comes to the rescue of those in need. Saint Augustine said it best when he said, “Faith is to believe what you do not see: the reward of faith is to see what you believe.”
Faith is the blissful union between the supernatural and terrestrial. It is through the physical that we experience God’s love and see how faith moves us into knowing with certainty that something greater lies ahead.
Faith fills us with the firm and unyielding conviction of believing in God’s promises in spite of anything we may be going through in life because “we walk by faith, not by sight.” (2 Cor 5:7)
This wonderful gift allows us to see beyond the present into eternity. It helps us to see past the obstacles and guides us to reach a goal far greater than any this world can offer. Faith awakens a desire within us for “a better homeland, a heavenly one.” (Hebrews 11:16)
In a recent Virtual Audience on ABC News, Pope Francis said, “What I hope for from youth is for you all not to walk alone in life. Life is very difficult. It’s difficult to walk alone. You get lost. You get confused. You can find the wrong path or you can be walking around in circles, in a maze, or worse, you can stop because you get tired of walking in life. Always walk hand-in-hand with someone who loves you, someone who gives you tenderness.”
So how do we help guide others in their journey of faith?
Here are 5 things you can do to walk hand-in-hand with others in their journey of faith.
Prayer is essential all the time but it’s especially important when you feel called to walk with others in their journey of faith. Pray for the person you’re walking with, for their intentions and needs. Pray for yourself.
Ask the Holy Spirit to help you discern how to best guide this person. Make time to pray with the Word of God. Open the Bible and listen to what the Word of God is asking of you.
Take the time to listen. Everyone’s faith experience is different. We often fail to understand where a person is coming from because we fail to do something as simple as listen.
Don’t rush to respond, instead listen intently. This will help you understand the person, as well as what they’re saying and what they need from you.
3. Don’t Impose Anything on Anyone
Christopher West from the Theology of the Body Institute said it best when he said, “Not all choices are the right choices, but God loves us so much, he gives us freedom to decide.”
As we walk with people in their journey of faith, it’s important to remember that we are called as Christians to uphold the teaching of Christ lovingly and without imposing anything on anyone.
4. Keep Realistic Expectations
When we first encounter Christ, we usually go out into the world filled with zest to share his love with others. Our hope is to bring as many souls to Christ as possible. This isn’t a bad thing, it’s what we’re called to do, but things don’t happen overnight.
Some people’s road to conversion is a bit longer than others – and that’s okay. Be patient. Don’t get discouraged and continue applying steps one, two and three.
5. Lead by Example
Remember you’re being entrusted with a valuable child of God’s. It’s very important to lead by example. Don’t ask people to do something you’re not willing to do yourself. Faith is visible to others through our actions.