Absolute faith is God’s supernatural intervention and is always based on what He has said. It is released as a powerful testimony and blessing to others.
Therefore take heart, men, for I believe God that it will be just as it was told me. (Acts 27:25)
Recently, I’ve walked alongside others who have endured pain, tragedy, and hardship and the doubts and questions that inevitably accompany them. So many times, I’ve felt the weight of my helplessness in the face of their struggle. In many of these moments, it seems that only the Word of God stands as a lonely bulwark in a terrible, destructive storm. I have come to see through these shared experiences that sometimes, our absolute faith can be a God-given blessing to those caught in the maelstrom.
What is absolute faith?
The word absolute implies ‘in totality’ or ‘without room for anything else.’ Absolute faith is the kind of faith that rejects doubt, laughs and contradictions, and refuses to acknowledge any other reality but what God has spoken. It’s an ‘all or nothing’ kind of faith that defies logic or reason, and which doesn’t need to bolstered with excuses or explanations. ‘I know that I know that I know’ faith transcends time, space, and physical limitations. It looks heavenward and sees only God.
At the same time, it doesn’t pretend that reality doesn’t exist. In fact, it’s absolute because it acknowledges reality yet sees the ‘all things are possible’ that defines God’s sovereign power. Real faith requires reality. Without anything to ‘have faith for,’ faith is meaningless. Until we actually have to exercise faith, it’s simply an abstract. Absolute faith only exists in the face of absolute reality. It is neither blind nor foolish, but is rather the total and complete focus on God, His will, His power, His faithfulness, and His omnipotence.
Absolute faith is a gift from God.
We cannot create or conjure faith. It comes from God, and is a gift and a blessing to empower us in this life. In one sense, faith is the ‘bridge’ between the physical or material and the supernatural. Absolute faith in any situation is what lifts us out of the problem and places us squarely in the solution. It is the power of God released in us to transcend the limitations and deal with things in the spiritual. When we exercise absolute faith, we choose to remove the obstacles that prevent God’s saving grace and power from working in our situation, whatever it is.
Absolute faith cannot be replaced by any human emotion. It is completely supernatural. We may hope, wish, and even believe in our own strength, but these are shaky at best and are subject to pressures. They depend on our moods, our physical state, our mental condition, and outside influences. We all live in faith if we follow Christ. That defines the very nature of our relationship with Him. Absolute faith, on the other hand, is a rare ‘elevation’ of our level of faith beyond what is required in our daily life. It’s a kind of life or death response in a particular situation that is outside of the ordinary.
Exercising absolute faith.
For whatever reason, I have found that exercising absolute faith is seldom my conscious choice. Rather, it’s something that simply kicks into gear when needed. I say this with reverence and awe because always, on looking back, I see the work of Spirit as He moves to intervene without us necessarily seeing Him work. It is simply an inarguable, unshakeable assurance that ‘puts its foot down with both hands.’ Absolute faith looks at reality, draws a line in the sand, and responds with ‘yes, but God said.’
Of course, exercising absolute faith requires a knowledge of what God said. This is the very basis of Paul’s assurance in today’s verse. He believed what he was told. The really wonderfully strange thing about absolute faith is that there is never any doubt whatsoever about what God said. When this kind of faith is called for, we have complete assurance that the ‘said’ will already be in place. We won’t have to look for it or call a temporary halt while we search for the right Scripture or seek God’s face for His will. We know that we know that we know. Period. God said, therefore it is. There are no maybes, grey areas, or points to ponder.
Absolute faith is often a blessing to others.
The very context of today’s verse is Paul’s reassurance to others. It’s interesting that they weren’t believers – the context makes this clear. Over and over, I’ve seen how God will use absolute faith as a blessing to non-believers as well as to other believers. It’s a powerful witness to the grace and power of God. What I’ve come to understand is that God will often bring us alongside others in order that we can exercise absolute faith on their behalf. This is His grace and mercy at work, and is at the very core of the context of the church as a body. It’s also at the root of the injunction to love others – including our enemies.
Today’s verse provides a beautiful example of what it is to come alongside others, to identify with them, and to extend ourselves for them. Paul could just as easily have kept the ‘God said’ to himself. After all, these men were holding him prisoner and delivering him to the Romans. Paul might be excused for secretly enjoying their panic while he alone knew that it was all for nothing. Absolute faith, however, is far bigger than our own personal circumstance. It’s bold and sweeping and has a powerful spiritual purpose. It’s a blessing to others, even more than it is a blessing to ourselves. Limiting it is limiting its power and purpose.
Sometimes only absolute faith turns the tide.
The reality is that we’re all weak and human. We’re all too often thrust into our trials when we seem least prepared. Even the strongest faith can be battered when things don’t make sense. Heartache and agony can whittle away at the foundations of our faith, no matter how hard we may try. Human frailty and the vagaries of self have us fighting the battle on many fronts, wearing us down and pulling us under. These are the times when God’s purpose for His body is critical. We can never lose sight of the truth that we are designed to work together. This is never more true than when absolute faith is the only thing that will turn the tide of despair.
Sometimes, we need someone to step in and give us space to heal. We need someone to be a willing and loving vessel for the absolute faith God wants to release into our situation. We so easily lose sight of the truth that for whatever reason, He has chosen to work with and through other people. If we don’t reach out, and if we don’t respond, we deny a fundamental purpose that God intended should work through our lives. Many times, as I have held a friend broken with pain and despair, I’ve looked to God in my helplessness and found absolute faith that supernaturally transcends our human frailty.
Absolute faith is God’s supernatural answer.
I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve had to concede – unwillingly, and sometimes even resentfully – that I don’t know the answers or have no explanation. What I can testify to, though, is that when I have come to the end of myself in the face of another’s despair, God has always been there with absolute faith. It’s not always for something I would have expected. Often, what He puts out there can even seem ‘inappropriate.’ But when I’ve heard and stepped out in obedience, He has always honoured what He has promised.
The supernatural power of absolute faith lies in its simplicity. It’s a single answer to every doubt, protest, lament, or heart’s cry: ‘Yes, but God said…’ More often than not, the only thing that He has ever instructed me to do is to repeat what He said, over and over – unyielding, unhesitating, unshakeable. There were times when it became an irritating litany for all of us. Sometimes, I caught myself wondering if I hadn’t lost my mind or was simply mouthing the impossible. But the moment I looked to God, the ‘I know that I know that I know’ raised up within me as the absolute faith He released for that moment.
God will always honour absolute faith.
It’s encouraging to remember that it is God who releases absolute faith, and God who provides the ‘said’ that it’s based on. We therefore have absolute assurance that He will honour it. Of course, it may take a little longer than we hope or expect. That’s often the nature of faith – that we have to hang in there until the ‘said’ comes to pass. But God is both the author and the finisher of our faith. His Word always accomplishes His will. If He puts us in the place of absolute faith, whether for ourselves or others – believers or non-believers – He acts. He is, after all, an eternally faithful God.
Thank You, Father, for Your grace, mercy, and supernatural intervention in every situation. Help us, Lord, to look continually to You rather than lean on our own wisdom or abilities. Teach us to listen and to hear, and to be obedient when You speak, even when – and especially when – it doesn’t seem to make any sense. Stir up a love in our hearts for others. Make us willing vessels for absolute faith so that Your will may be done and others reached and blessed in the work of Your kingdom.