One of my favorite movies is a poorly known – and poorly rated – film entitled “The Book of Eli.” In it, Denzel Washington plays a presumably blind man in a post-apocalyptic world. As the story unfolds, Eli must fight his way across America in order to protect a sacred book that holds the secrets to saving humankind. SPOILER ALERT. Eli’s sacred book is, inter alia, The New King James Bible.
In a very anti-climatic scene, the greatest truth I’ve encountered in American cinematography is revealed. Eli and his companion, Solara, exchange the following dialogue:
“You know, you say you’ve been walking for thirty years, right?”
“Have you ever thought that maybe you were lost?”
“Well, how do you know that you’re walking in the right direction?”
“I walk by faith, not by sight.”
Eli goes on to explain that faith – in opposition to Solara’s contrary statements – does not have to make sense. Faith is just that; faith. “It’s the flower of light in the field of darkness that gives [us] the strength to carry on.”
As I look around the world today, I echo the sentiments of so many. Our world needs faith now more than ever. And as a young lawyer, in a profession laden with unemployment, unethical practice, and the abuse of power, we as a group need faith more than ever. We need faith to be a beacon in a world that grows darker by the day. But what is faith? And what does it mean to walk by faith, not by sight.
Faith is simply “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”
The greatest Teacher reveals faith to us like this:
During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. ‘It’s a ghost’ they said, and cried out in fear.
But Jesus immediately said to them: ‘Take courage! It is I. Don’t’ be afraid.’
‘Lord, if it’s you,’ Peter replied, ‘tell me to come to you on the water.’
‘Come,’ he said.
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus.
Faith is many things to many people.
Faith is a grand cathedral, with divinely pictured windows – standing without, you can see no glory, nor can imagine any, but standing within every ray of light reveals a harmony of unspeakable splendors.
All I have seen teaches me to trust the Creator for all I have not seen.
There are only two ways to live…one is as though nothing is a miracle…the other is as if everything is.
Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.
To me, faith is about doing the right thing, no matter the cost to myself. To be human is to have faith; to retain this amazing ability to believe in that which we cannot see. In that ability – that belief – is the possibility to change the world and effectuate real, tangible transformation. “A small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the course of history.”
Faith is central to my life and my practice. Every day as a young lawyer in this battlefield riddled with the charred remains of a once noble profession, I challenge myself to walk on water; to walk by faith and possess an ever-present belief that by doing the right thing, I am helping to light a candle in an otherwise obscure wilderness. More often than not, I cannot see the outcome that is sure to follow by doing the right thing. But deep down inside I know – and I believe – that the only outcome that is deserving of my love is that which proceeds a belief in a cause and a purpose greater than us all; doing what is right. That is faith.
As a young lawyer, my heart and prayers go out to all of those precious and beautiful lives that have been taken from this world too soon over these last few months. As a young lawyer, my plea to humanity is that we rediscover what it means to walk by faith. And as a profession, my argument is simple. In your practice, walk by faith; do and believe in the right thing. The world needs it now more than ever.