What is Faith?

To hear with my heart,
to see with my soul,
to be guided by a hand I cannot hold,
to trust in a way that I cannot see,
that’s what faith must be.
(Michael Card)

These lyrics come to mind alot these days as we continue to reach for this hand that we cannot hold. And so, I hope you don’t mind if we talk about faith a bit. You may say you don’t have faith. You may wish you had more. You may believe God can do something, but aren’t sure if He really will. Reading through Hebrews 11, I just have a hunch these men and women could relate. But they are in there for their faith. SO…how de we keep moving when there is so much left unseen?

What is faith? It is the confident assurance that what we hope for is going to happen.
It is the evidence of things we cannot yet see. (Hebrews 11.1)

I love how the writer of Hebrews uses this one verse to define faith. Then the rest of the chapter to describe faith. To flesh it out. See, he knows that putting some words together doesn’t sink in nearly as deep as attaching flesh and bones to an ambiguous idea. It’s like we need to see faith in action to understand what it means. Which really is some pretty crazy stuff.

It was by faith Enoch was taken up to heaven without dying (v. 5)
Noah obeyed God, who warned him about something that had never happened before (7).
It was by faith Abraham obeyed when God called him to leave home…he went without knowing where he was going (8).
It was by faith Abraham offered Isaac (his son!) as a sacrifice when God was testing him (17).
It was by faith that Joseph confidently spoke of God’s bringing the people of Israel out of Egypt. He was so sure of it that he commanded them to carry his bones with them when they left! (22).
It was by faith that Moses chose to share the oppression of God’s people instead of the fleeting pleasures of sin (25).
It was by faith that the people of Israel went right through the Red Sea as though they were on dry ground (29).

We can start to think these “Heroes of the Faith” are some super-human people. That there’s no way God would use us because we are not nearly at that saint-level. That there’s a whole bunch of stuff we have done and do wrong every day. So, we’ll likely be remembered as “Zeroes of the Faith.” Then there’s this verse that brings hope.

…It was by faith that Rahab the Prostitute did not die with all the others in her city who refused to obey God. For she had given a friendly welcome to the spies (31).

Wait. Rahab the… what? One word may seem misplaced.
But I find it inspiring.

This one word reminds us who really is the Hero in all of this. There’s nothing intrinsically special about these people. They aren’t recognized because of their super-humanness. But because of their faith!
God called. They listened. They obeyed.
They didn’t make excuses because of their past or even their present. They weren’t hindered by their unworthiness. They weren’t stuck in their undeserving state. They were so captivated by this miracle-working Maker of theirs that it compelled them to take a step. Even if it meant risk.

…Moses kept right on going because he kept his eyes on the One who is invisible (27).

The further we walk down this road, the more comfort I find in these examples of faith fleshed-out. It’s really hard to read Hebrews 11-12 and question the sanity of these steps that we are taking. Because I just can’t say this enough: This is never about us. If it were, we wouldn’t get very far… stumbling over our undeservedness, held back by our unworthiness. When we have our eyes on the One who is invisible, we can’t help but keep right on going. Because HE is the evidence of things we cannot yet see. From the miracle of new life, to the hope of each new day, to the promise of seasons change… the demonstration of His hand at work all around us is endless!

I believe in Christ, like I believe in the sun – not because I can see it,
but by it I can see everything else.
(CS Lewis)

I understand why The act of believing or trusting in something intangible is called a “Leap of Faith.” Faith may be something you stumble into, but most often it requires us to take a giant leap. To find there are some great big invisible Hands to catch us. And lead the way.


2 thoughts on “What is Faith?

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