The Word for Today is . . .
What gets us through the times when we encounter the unexpected or unknown?
I have one answer: FAITH!
But there's a lot of misunderstanding about faith. Let's see if we can find some clarity that will help us live as faith-filled followers Jesus called us to be.
I believe there are three facts about faith that we need to get right before we even use the word. The stakes are high here, but so is the gift of getting it right. Here’s what I believe about faith:
1. Faith is the vision of the heart for what the eyes can’t see.
Faith keeps us focused on Who God is instead of what He does. If we reverse the order, we try to predict what God does. When God doesn’t do what we think, we respond to God as if He is Someone He isn’t. Then, we lose faith because we have lost our vision of Who God is.
The same thing is true about God’s promises. We don’t anchor our faith in the promises of God before we anchor our faith in the character of God. If we do not believe in the integrity, trustworthiness, and unfailing love of God, what good are His promises? We’ll question and doubt anyway.
2. Faith is a gift from God.
That means we don’t initiate it. It means that any language that tries to make faith something we can try harder to have is an exercise in futility. We don’t try harder to open a gift. We just take the ribbons off the box and tear into the paper and see what someone has given us.
3. Faith is a gift we explore.
The key here is that we explore Who gave it to us and why. The more we understand how God’s gift of faith is what we need for all the journeys we take into unknown and uncharted ways, the more faith grows. Faith uses God’s eyes and God’s knowledge for what we can’t see or don’t know.
Since we can’t see far enough or clearly enough with our own eyes, we need our faith to use God’s eyes. While we can’t see what He sees, we can know that He sees. That knowledge is how we grow faith. Interestingly enough, we grow our faith more in the times when we have to depend on what God tknows over what we know.
If we try to apply faith to a situation where we question who God is and what He is doing, we have returneId to using our eyes and our knowledge instead of God’s. We have put the gift of faith back in the box as if it doesn’t work.
Anytime we feel our faith weakens, we simply return to Who God IS-His allness, His perfection, His availability, His knowledge, His compassion, His mercy, His love. This list is endless. We can start anywhere and it will only take us to more of God. More of God means more faith.
Perhaps we should substitute the word faith for God-sight, God-knowledge, God-presence because if those words don’t fill our faith, we don’t have much faith.
As Proverbs reminds us, lean NOT to your own understanding. Proverbs 3:6) That’s what faith is for. It takes us past what we see and know because we trust in what God sees and knows. And beyond that, we trust that He will tell us what we can’t see or know at the right time. That’s faith.
That's why faith is what we need for the journey we can’t see. The more we surrender our ”need to know” to the God who really does know, the more faith grows. While this doesn’t always make an unknown journey easier, it becomes a journey with God holding the map. When we know that God holds the map, then it becomes a journey we take with someone and not alone.
Where do you need to re-think your definition of faith? Where do you need to transfer your focus from what you know to Who you know? This is a good day to empty your suitcase of everything but faith so that you are ready for the journey you can’t see, but God already knows.