Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. (Hebrews 11: 1)
What a big little word ‘faith’ is! It seems so easy when things are ‘going right’, when answers to prayer come quickly, or things we are believing for are manifest without having to wait too long. But ‘easy faith’ is for those new in Christ and, sooner or later, God takes us to a place of ‘faith in waiting’. He does this to stretch us, to grow our faith, to move us beyond believing for the ‘easy’ things to a place of believing for the impossible. That, after all, is the essence of faith, for ‘with God, all things are possible.’
The problem with faith is that it turns fact inside out. We learn from birth to rely on what we see. The infant who cries when its mother leaves the room is a good example – to the baby, the mother is ‘gone’. She exists when she is seen, and does not exist when she is not seen. It takes a while for the baby to realise that she still exists when she’s in another room. Faith is bigger than fact. What we see is the ‘tip of the iceberg.’ The biggest part is hidden, but it’s still there.
Faith is a bit like that. What we believe or believe for exists, but in a different ‘room’, a room in the spirit, and cannot be seen with the physical eye. Imagine being in a small room which has a single door which is unlocked but which cannot be seen in the physical. If we believed the door was locked, or that it didn’t exist, the chances are we would remain ‘locked’ in that room forever. The door is there, but our belief governs what happens. That is the essence of faith. What we believe, what we hold in our hearts, is what manifests in our lives.
Of course, faith must have a foundation, and that is the Word of God. Jesus Himself said ‘It is written’ and we can do no less. We shouldn’t simply pull things out of nowhere and fashion a faith based on wishes rather than promises. That’s what makes faith so difficult. We take a single verse – with God all things are possible – and don’t take the time to study the Word and to pray, and then, when God has revealed his Word for our particular need, to stand in faith on what God has actually said.
Faith is not ‘easy.’ It’s not meant to be ‘easy.’ It’s meant to bring us closer to God, to search and meditate on His Word, to listen to the Holy Spirit within us, to discover His will. As we grow in this things, we won’t need to struggle with faith. God Himself will provide the faith sufficient to the need. Once we have the certainty that God has spoken on a particular something, His grace will release the faith we need. Faith isn’t a ‘one size fits all.’ It’s personal, it’s practical and, above all, it’s powerful.
The real difficulty always comes back to one thing: we tend to revert to relying on what we can see. We try to view God from the limited perception of natural laws instead of from the eternal, or supernatural, experience. We want to shape faith to fit what we are comfortable with or to stretch it beyond what its intended for. Both of these bring disappointment, and both bruise our faith. It is true that, with God, nothing is impossible.
Fact says one thing, and faith usually says another. God uses the foolish to ‘confound the wise.’ He operates from a different perspective and we will never understand it by trying to impose the natural laws of the world on what is essentially a supernatural activity. He doesn’t want us to live according to the rules of the world, but according to the laws of His Kingdom, one of power, the same kind of resurrection power that raised Christ from the dead. The problem is that we often focus on the power rather than the power behind the power. Faith asks us to get to know God as he really is, and that usually takes more time than we have the patience for.
The real essence of faith is contained in these words: with God. Faith is not something we do. Faith is something we receive from God and exercise with God. Outside of Him, it’s us trying to ‘make it work.’ With God, however, brings us to the place of ‘oneness’ He desires for us. In that place, with God, we share His faith, and then all things are indeed possible.
Lord, forgive me for the times I’ve misunderstood. Help me to walk closer to you, to learn your will in all things, that my faith may grow according to your purpose, for your your glory.