We live by faith, not by sight. 2 Cor. 5:7
Each time I write a blog post I try to share as much of my personal experience as God will allow. After all, “clay” is intended to be the true story of a lost and bound-for-hell sinner saved by grace. As a result, I feel compelled to tell you that, recently, this lost and bound-for-hell sinner saved by grace found himself being a bit “faith challenged” – not across the board, just in a couple of areas. (Either way, lack of faith is not honoring to God.)
Faith is a hallmark of the Christian life and the Bible talks about it at length. In fact, I find it interesting that my last post, like this one, was also based on a verse about faith (James 2:26); and the verse I just finished memorizing and will be writing about next is about faith (Matthew 17:20) – that’s three in a row. So, just when I was grappling with some faith issues, three verses about faith came up in my stack of Bible verse flash cards…
…totally at random. Right… (We’ve talked about that.) Do you think God was trying to speak to me through His word?
In a fashion I’ve come to realize as typical of God’s goodness and grace, He provided some resources to help me on my faith-building journey just when I needed them.
For example, I just finished Michael Card’s book, “Mark: The Gospel of Passion”, where he discusses Mark 16:1-8 (the end of the gospel) and the three women who were the first to discover Jesus’ empty tomb (Two Marys and Salome). He says that their bewildered flight from the place where Jesus had been buried to tell his disciples that He was risen “is the supreme moment…where believing comes before seeing and faith is born before the appearance of the proof.” In addition to providing a perfect illustration of 2 Cor. 5:7 (above), this really spoke to me at just the right time.
Michael goes on to say: “Indeed, proof matters and will sometimes come, but Jesus demands that we believe before the proof.” Even the empty tomb was more evidence than proof, he says, as Jesus’ body could indeed have been stolen. “Only Jesus is the proof,” he writes.
Three women running to tell others that their Lord and Savior has risen from the dead just as He said he would before ever seeing proof that He was alive is a perfect example of living by faith rather than by sight.
In his book “The God Who Is There”, Francis Schaeffer tells the story of a mountain climber stranded on a narrow ledge on the side of a mountain in a blinding snow storm, unable to see more than a few inches. From the swirling snowstorm he hears a voice telling him to jump off the ledge, where right below he’ll find a safe path down off the mountain. Whether he will jump or not depends on whether or not he trusts the voice. If the voice is not one he’s familiar with, it’s doubtful he will take that leap off the ledge. However, if the voice is of an experienced mountain guide, for example, he will of course jump off the ledge and find the path to safety, just as the voice said.
Regarding my own mountain ledge, when I hear God’s voice telling me to “jump” why do I sometimes have trouble trusting Him without question? I’ve seen time and again how he has proven to be faithful to me and in the lives of those around me.
Most important, I trust that God has forgiven me of my sinful nature and my past rebelliousness and will give me an eternal existence I can’t even begin to comprehend – an existence of which I have no proof – but still struggle with trusting Him to take care of ___________ (fill in the blank).
I think I hesitate sometimes to let go and let God be in control because I’m never sure what He’s going to do. His solution may be to take me down a path that I wouldn’t have chosen for myself; He doesn’t have to ask my permission and doesn’t owe me an explanation. And sometimes the journey down that path pushes me to my limits, forcing me to muster every bit of courage I have. But I have as yet to look back from the destination at the end of that path without seeing a sequence of events that tell an amazing story of God’s goodness and grace.
Even though, by nature, I sometimes have trouble trusting a God I can’t see or understand, when I do trust Him and find Him to be worthy of that trust – well, let me just say that there is no greater joy.
God is able to do it all – create everything I see out of nothing as well as inexplicably provide a few extra dollars in my bank account when the mortgage comes due.
The author of Hebrews (11:1) writes:
Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
Or, to make it personal, faith is not being anxious or worried one bit that God will provide what He wants me to have – even if I can’t imagine how He’s going to do it.
Father, You have never let me down – never. Strengthen me when my trust in you dims; give me opportunities to grow my faith, regardless of what that may require of me. Help me to live by faith, not by sight. Remind me that anything I can see on which I might pin my trust pales in comparison to You, who I can only see through the goodness of your love and grace and in the needs you supply without fail.
Great is your faithfulness.