Recently, I was mocked for my faith and belief in God by a reader of my online blog. Attributing to God the special ways my prayers were answered to overcome a fear of going alone through major airports, I met folks who became helpful friends on my flights to and from visiting family. This woman was aghast, proclaiming God had nothing to do with it. She added that her comments were “unlikely to sway anyone who has been indoctrinated into a belief system.” Rather, her purpose was to “lay bare the myth of religion” as Christianity has been “incredibly destructive.” Proudly, she stated how “green” she was, yet bragged about travelling to 90 countries, logging millions of miles, and that God had nothing to do with her flights because “God does not exist.”
Without God, we trust in ourself - that’s called pride. How sad! For as King David wrote in Psalm 14:1, “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’” I chose not to respond, but to pray for her instead, while two supporters/administrators made it clear to her that her comments were very inappropriate. As a meme I once saw noted:
“An umbrella cannot stop the rain, but it allows us to stand in the rain.
Faith in God may not remove our trials, but it gives us strength to overcome them.”
Faith… it’s intangible. You can’t see it. You can’t feel it. And it’s hard to define. But it’s there… deep in the heart. Faith is a trust, a belief, a confidence knowing that something positive will happen based on past experiences, while hope is optimistically looking to the future. Even though we may not see the evidence of our faith and hope for a long time, we can agree that biblically speaking, “faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” (Hebrews 11:1 NIV) “For we live by faith, not by sight.” (2 Corinthians 5:7)
We put faith in a lot of things – like people, money, real estate, our job, military power, that the water we drink and use will always be there, even our electric until it suddenly goes off. We put faith in our best friends, in our dear loved ones, and hope that they will come through for us. We have faith our car will start… especially on those bitter cold mornings! We often don’t know or understand how something works; it just does – so we say we have faith that it will work.
We have faith knowing that at the end of a long, dark and dreary winter, we will see spring’s beauty unfold. The cells of life are within each seed whether human, animal, or plant as created by God and established within its own kind. And as we watch the flower or leaf bud begin to swell, and then open, we see the evidence, the proof, of our faith and hope in this new life that’s about to burst forth.
Yet the opposite of faith is pride in self, while the opposite of hope is uncertainty, anxiety, despair… with uncertainty being sure of one thing – nothing. And how often don’t things and people let us down? Thus, we should “be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let [our] requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard [our] hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7). We have faith, hope, and trust in our God to guide and assist us when we look to Him, seeking to follow in His steps, His path, His will. So, what exactly is at the heart of this kind of faith?
True faith must be put into practice… for though faith is unseen in our heart, it becomes an action on our part when we actually place our trust in the Lord. And, I’m ashamed to say, I have failed at times. Yet, faith is essential in relating to God. Faith helps us realize that no matter what happens to us, good or bad, God is working in the situation for His will, His purpose. And Ed and I have seen our God working through many difficult situations and losses of health, jobs, and life, using what we’ve learned to come alongside and assist someone else on their difficult journey.
We can’t see God and can’t feel Him next to us. But, in fact, it is even He who opens our heart and gives us the faith to come to Him seeking forgiveness and salvation. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:8-10 NIV) And it’s within that faith as we build our trust and confidence with belief and hope that we learn how much our heart wants to please and praise our God.
Still, at times I have failed to understand the effort to trust that I must put forth in the equation of faith. At times I have questioned what I sense the Lord is telling me to do versus what my heart wants. At times I have pushed the limits of self will, wresting control of the reins instead of resting in His hands, His will. But as I’ve learned to trust Him more, to obey His Word, to have faith in His greater purpose for my life, I find peace. Yet, how hard the lesson can be at times! Still, God is faithful, even when I am not, so I can have confidence that “…he who began a good work in you [and me] will carry it on to completion...” (Philippians 1:6 NIV)
Thus, faith is trusting that God will work through me in whatever situation I face. He wants me to simply trust Him… like a child trusts their parents… to have faith and confidence in Jesus as my Lord and Savior, and in Him alone… that He will take me through a difficult situation, and bring me to the other side with new understanding from the journey. Out of this depth of trust comes the proof of our faith in God as we see the fruits of the spirit emerge in our actions and love toward others. This will then bring glory and honor back to our great God and His precious gift of love as we continue drawing closer to Him through prayer and study of His Words of wisdom. And therein lies our growth… the fruit of our faith.
So what’s at the heart of faith? An obedience to trust and live out what God expects of me by showing I have confidence in Him and His word. “For we live by faith, not by sight.” (2 Corinthians 5:7) Faith is trusting the Lord will provide and care for me even when I don’t see immediate answers to prayer, knowing “…that in all things [He] works for the good of those who love Him… (Romans 8:28a NIV)
Simply put, faith is resting in the arms of God, allowing Him to work His will through me… like putting my hand in the Lord’s hand and saying, “Where you lead, I will follow.” (based on Luke 9:57)
Linda A. Roorda
My faith is more than just mere words
More than the eye could ever see
For underneath the surface stirring
Believes the heart with hope evermore.
A hope within the depths of my soul
Focused upon what cannot be seen
There in the quiet and solitude calm
Lies sweet the dream someday to fulfill.
Choosing always to patiently rest
Under Your wings to calmly abide
Eagerly awaiting the break of dawn
A gentle semblance of faith held secure.
Your promises firm ring evermore true
For when I put my trust in Your hands
And then release the reins to my life
You guide my steps from within Your will.
And yet faith hopes in what can’t be seen
Always expecting the best to emerge
For faith is more than just simple dreams
It’s holding on to trust in the truth.
For truths in Your Word which cling to my soul
Will give me hope and confidence clear
When all seems lost and fears wander dark
Faith holds forever its promises bright.