I once heard it said that if you don't take risks, you don't need faith. There is some truth in that statement. Actually, there is more truth in it than we may realize. I was also asked once to describe faith, and for me that's rather hard to do without quoting Scripture. "Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."
When we think of faith though, don't you sort of think of something airy, ethereal, hard to grasp?
But faith, according to the Bible is substance, tangible, solid, or as some might say, certainty. Being sure of what we hope for.
Faith is also evidence. That sounds scientific by today's standards. It is assurance. Confidence.
Nothing hard to grasp in those terms. But faith IS hard to grasp if we don't have it. What happens if you just find it impossible to believe?
Scripture tells us that is it impossible to please God without faith. Not faith in ourselves. Not faith in the world or anything it has to offer. Not faith in money or politics or science or the goodness or kindness of fellow human beings.
While those might be good things, that's not the faith that is certain, confident, assured, evident, solid, substance, tangible, real.
The kind of faith that pleases God, the only kind of faith that gets His attention, is the kind that says, "My heart says of you, “Seek his face!” Your face, Lord, I will seek." (Psalm 27:8)
Faith that the ancients were commended for was faith that believed in a God of the impossible. God who keeps His Word. God who can be trusted.
True faith is coupled with hope and the two together lead us to trust.
Sometimes that trust is hard won. Some friends were recently discussing how Abraham could offer his son Isaac on an altar when everything in God's character told Abraham this was not normal. God did not condone child sacrifice (though Isaac was more likely a young man by this time). Still, the story is confusing to many.
But after studying this story as I wrote REBEKAH, I think the hard thing was that God was really asking Abraham was to trust Him with the one thing he loved most--his son. Genesis tells us up front that this was a test for Abraham, and maybe it was a test for Isaac too, as both could have run from this heart-wrenching act of obedience.
They didn't know how the story would end like we do as we read it now. Just as we don't know how our stories will end, how each day will end. We only have this moment to trust God. When it comes down to it, do we have the faith it takes to do that hardest things and give Him the things, the people we cling to with all of our hearts?
Sometimes our faith is too weak and our answer to this would be no. It's too hard. Don't ask it of me, Lord.
But life has a way of shaping us whether we like it or not. It will take its twists and turns and challenge us in ways we might not want to be challenged. I fairly doubt Abraham appreciated or liked this test regarding his beloved son. I would guess that Isaac didn't like it either.
But both knew God well enough to believe He had their best interests in mind, and that He would provide what they lacked. He would increase their wavering faith and strengthen any weakness they felt. He could be trusted.
They might not have known it then. Maybe that's where the risk comes in. Are we willing to risk obedience in faith in order to gain a greater trust, to please God, to receive His rich reward, which is far more than we can even fathom in this life?
Side note here: When I say obey, let me clarify that I mean obedience to the known will of God written in His Word. Things like "believe in the One He sent", and then the rest of the "this is the will of God" verses. I do NOT mean obedience to a human leader or a radical ideology that suggests we harm our fellow man. This test Abraham was given, was for HIM. One time. Never happened again. And it was a picture of what Jesus later did for us. So let us not confuse this with something we should do today. Be very careful when interpreting the lives of people recorded in Scripture. They are give to us for an example, not for us to mimic other than in learning from their faith. Okay, side note ended.
The truth is, and I will admit this myself, we don't always have the strength to trust God with everything we hold dear, do we? There are days when we only have the most basic of faith to believe He exists and we can seek Him daily, but sometimes the tests or the trials of life make trusting Him in the hard things nearly impossible.
I'm glad God excels at meeting us in those impossible places. Faith begins with Him, after all. So if it seems like we just don't have it--all we have to do is ask Him for it. He NEVER forsakes those who seek Him.
#liveloveprayhopetrust #faithplushopeequalstrust #godoftheimpossible