What exactly is faith? Whatever is is, it must be something that moves beyond simple optimism – something that is perhaps quieter and more heroic. It also must be something different than assent to specific teachings that need to be categorically defended. We may be given some clues about this in today's epistle, where, writing to Timothy from prison, Paul speaks of faith being about endurance. Both Paul's example and teaching along with Timothy's own martyrdom speak of a willingness to suffer patiently in anticipation of a better future. As we accept God makes good things come out of bad – even tragic – situations, we begin to understand more clearly the mustard seed type of faith Jesus speaks of.