Now Faith is....
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1 (NKJV)
We as humans love to live by our senses. We judge our world by what we can see, hear, taste, feel and smell. This is why we struggle so much with true faith. Many claim God does not exist because he does not fit neatly in a logical box. The Bible is full of his works that defy the laws of physics and nature. If God is the maker of heavens and the earth, why would he be bound by the natural laws?
The world tells us to pull ourselves up by our own effort; success will come if you just work hard enough. Then Jesus shows up and tells us to love our enemies (Matthew 5:44) and the greatest among us will be a servant (Matthew 23:11, Luke 22:26). To find life we give ours away (Mark 8:35).
I have a vacation coming up. I have already looked up the directions and planned the route I will take. I have made a list of the things I want to do on the way and when I get there. I have a plan, and itinerary all marked out. However God does not reveal his plan to us like that. He often gives it to us in bits and pieces. How often have you prayed for God to give you direction for some major decision in your life and he only responds with just a little bit? We want to know the next 20 steps we need to take in life and God responds with just the next half step. We are blind to what lies down the road of life.
Hope is not wishful thinking. True hope is a confidence in the promises of God’s word. It also does not mean sitting around doing nothing. Sure there are times we need to “wait on the Lord” but sometimes we have to move out when the way is not clear. We have to take the next step without knowing 100% it is the right one.
Eugene H. Peterson describes hope: “It means going about our assigned tasks, confident that God will provide the meaning and the conclusions…. And hoping is not dreaming. It is not spinning an illusion or fantasy to protect us from our boredom or pain. It means a confident, alert expectation that God will do what he said he will do.”
Things not Seen
Not being able to see the fullness of God’s plan for my life keeps me from taking control. I am pretty sure I have some great ideas for my life but God has a better way. It will be a struggle at times but I have to let God be the leader and guide. If we could see the fullness of God’s plan, we would quickly fall back on looking to our own strength and wisdom.
“It is the willingness to let God do it his way and in his time. It is the opposite of making plans that we demand that God put into effect, telling him both how and when to do it.” – Eugene H. Peterson
Not being able to see the full picture of my life requires me to trust that at the end of the day my Heavenly Father is in control and he will do the right thing for me and most importantly for his glory.
On my drive to work I often drive by the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Park. One of the park rangers is blind. I often see him walking to and from the center with his dog. Well often it is more of a run than a walk. One day they stepped into a cross walk when the light suddenly changed. The dog immediately stopped and turned around to the safety of the sidewalk. Without seeing this man can confidently run along the busy streets of downtown Atlanta because he trusts in his dog.
No God is not our Seeing Eye dog but he is our father who has promised never to leave us nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). As we trust in him and as we move in obedience we will find his peace and joy even when our circumstances seem dark. Remember we don’t judge our world by what see but by the very word of God.
When we turn our lives over to Jesus we let go of our own life. Jesus died so we might live and we turn around and give our lives fully to him. Paul describes it as becoming a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1). Our life is no longer our own but we live for God’s glory.
God’s plan for us is better than anything we can dream up or see.
Let us live each day by faith.
Eugene H. Peterson quotes are from his book: A Long Obedience in the Same Direction: Discipleship in an Instant Society