I grew up learning what “faith” was and how to use it. When I was 9, my parents moved us to Oklahoma to attend Rhema Bible Training Center (College now) and they had a big shield on top of their main building with the word “FAITH” in giant, bold letters stamped on it. We learned that faith the size of a mustard seed can pick up mountains and throw them into the sea. Faith alone can change situations.
So of course, I’ve always imagined myself as being someone who has “great faith”. Not quite Abraham or Noah faith, but maybe childlike faith where I just believe everything Jesus says in the Bible – and don’t get me wrong, that’s wonderful and necessary and a great place to start but I never really got the whole “even if you don’t see it happening, you have to keep having faith”. I guess that’s really what true “faith” is.
The Bible calls it “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”. Hebrews 11:1
That’s a catchy verse, but it never really clicked with me until now. “The substance of things hoped for”. What is that? I wanted to understand what exactly substance meant in this context so I did what any millennial human being would do and googled it. It means “foundation”. So faith is a “foundation” for our relationships with Jesus – which makes sense because salvation is just us having faith in the truth of the gospel.
But then the “evidence of things not seen” is what really got me. It’s not confusing. It’s pretty straight forward, actually – our faith is the evidence we have for what Jesus did and what He will continue to do. We shouldn’t need to “see” physical evidence because the faith that we have in Him and what He promises to us is all the “evidence” we need. Or should need.
Humans get that mixed up all the time, I mean, the amount of times I’ve felt that God was leading me a certain direction and I said, “God just give me a sign” or when I’ve believed Him for a specific thing and said “Okay, God if this is your will, show me” is probably innumerable at this point. And the sad part about it is that my lack of actual faith in His promises by constantly asking for a sign or asking Him for physical evidence doesn’t please Him at all. Because without faith, it’s impossible to please Him.
My life is changing a lot right now, I’m going through quite the spiritual (and even physical) move right now and honestly it’s incredibly hard to believe in things that I can’t actually “see”. God has asked me to do some big things – things that require commitment, time, energy, money, and strength. And honestly, if I were trying to do this on my own, I’d fail HORRIBLY.
But then I look at The Word. I read the stories about Abraham and how he went to sacrifice his only son because God told him to. Abraham had no idea why this would be happening, especially after God promised him the (honestly enviable) role of “father of many nations” but he still did it. He still raised that dagger and was ready to kill his kid all in the name of faith.
And I think of Noah who didn’t even have any idea of what “rain” was and yet built a giant boat because God told him to do it. So for over a hundred years he just built and built, trusting that God was doing something.
And what about the wall of Jericho? Those men marched around a city for seven days because they really believed God would bring that wall on down for them.
These are HUGE things. These people didn’t have see anything to know that God was being honest with them or to believe He would come through for them. This verse really hits me:
“And what more shall I say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon and Barak and Samson and Jephthah, also of David and Samuel and the prophets: who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle… others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection…” Hebrews 11:32-35
If God can come through for the vast number of Christians that came before me, Christians who didn’t have previous examples of great people of faith to follow, Christians who were literally being tortured, slain, sawn in two – He can come through for me. He can feed me. He can clothe me. He can provide for me. He can and He will.
And He’ll do it for you, too! He’ll provide because He said He would. Keep the faith. Believe in Him – earnestly believe. Do what He told you to do regardless of if your human, faulty senses tell you it doesn’t make sense. A lot of things about God don’t make sense and really, it’s not supposed to. That’s why He’s the God of the impossible and you aren’t.
“…let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith…let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.” Hebrews 10:22-23