Is faith supposed to be exciting? I’ve contemplated this thing we call faith and the reactions that we all have. I believe I may be coming to more interesting conclusions for myself about the situations we call faith.
We commonly say “Oh they’re moving into the ministry, how exciting!” or “They’re stepping out on faith, what a thrill!” or “Congratulations on your new venture for the Lord.” I think events in faithfulness should be rewarded with the congratulations, excitement, and well wishes… and quite possibly this step toward ministry is an event of a lifetime but should it be wrapped in these well-wishes of excitement?
Did Abraham have a good-bye party when he packed up his caravan and started following God to a land of promise he’d never seen? I doubt that the Chaldeans were waving good-bye as he departed. There had to be thoughts of wonder and questions about where he was headed. There’s no record either way that his step of faith was with glee and a high leap and click of the heels or with solemn reserve.
Mary was given the news that she was going to be the mother of the Christ child. She marvelled at the salutation that the angel had given to her, wondering what it meant that he had spoken to her in such a kind way. She had questions about the thing the Lord wanted to do in her life. “How could this be?” Her questions were answered that the Holy Spirit would overshadow her and bring forth the life of the Son of God within her womb. She pondered these things in her heart and moved on with her life in faith. She spent her entire life thinking about all the things that she saw before her eyes. This thing God did in her life, these changes that would take faith to believe, brought her contemplation.
The passage in Hebrews 11 is typically called the “hall of faith” of those throughout the Bible that God saw as being faithful to Himself. Noah moved with fear in the building of the ark. Sara, Abraham’s wife, received strength in her old age to bear a child (There’s a lot of fear in the unknown when you have your first child). Moses chose to suffer affliction with his own people instead of living in the upscale lifestyle of the Egyptians. Then verses 33-38 reveal circumstances of unnamed Christians that followed the Lord through faith in trials and afflictions, some losing their life, some being able to witness miracles in seeing their loved ones raised to life after dying, others were tortured, stripped of their clothing and forced to wander in wildernesses and hide in caves. It seems to me that each situation that the Lord allowed in these people’s lives was one in which they did not know the ending or could not predict the circumstances that would lie ahead and must stand up toward God with a clean conscience. They had to hope sincerely that God would deliver them through a miracle or bring them to be in heaven with Him because that’s what He promised.
If we consider the things that have caused us to have faith we’ll find that it’s most typically the “unknown” future. When we don’t know where the money will come from, the food, the school supplies, the shoes for the kids, the healthcare for a loved one, the strength to withstand the persecutions of a co-worker, changing your lifestyle to fit the Bible instead of how you have lived, deciding not to smoke any longer, facing the death of a loved one, the loss of your house or car, the melting away of your marriage, the move of your family to a new town God called you to, that’s when God wants us to seek Him. That’s when faith is tested, will I contemplate what the Lord is doing like Mary did? Will I move with fear like Moses did and obey? The unknown should make us look to God in reverence because truly He does know all things and does not want anything besides His glory for our lives.
“Well what if bad things happen?” “What if people hate me and treat me as an outcast?” “What if I lose my job or position?” “What if our nation doesn’t make it?” As God describes in the passage of Hebrews the shameful things that happened to those that were faithful to Him he says something “Of whom the world was not worthy.” Where was the worth those people had if the world was not worthy of them and their faith? Apparently God deemed them to have great worth for Himself. God wants us all to be worthy, outside of our earthly circumstances.
Faith can be exciting when you think “What will God do next?” or “How will he answer this prayer?” Faith is not limited to special events in our lives or the lives of others. All faith has to be known by is the “unknown” and received in our hearts for believing and seeking. The biblical definition of faith is found in Hebrews 11:1, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Verse 6 says, “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”
These two verses boil faith down to 1. believing and 2. seeking. “The substance of things HOPED for…for he that come to God must BELIEVE that he is.” We are not able to hope in something we do not believe in. Children do not hope the tooth fairy will come and put money underneath their pillow after they have lost a tooth if they do not believe in the tooth fairy. We cannot hope for what we do not believe God is or what He has said in the pages of the Bible.
The second aspect is seeking, “The evidence of things NOT SEEN…and he is a rewarder of them that diligently SEEK him.” The game of hide and seek is pointless if someone is not hiding, or out of the view of the seeker. God chooses to allow things to be unseen in our lives so that we will diligently seek Him. There is evidence of the things we cannot see through the written scripture of God’s promises and also when God reveals the unseen things through His timing and answering of prayer.
I pray that I will be diligent seeking what He wants me to find and that I’ll be able to be rewarded one day in years to come for faithfulness and found worthy of His reward. I hope that you too, even though it may not be a heel-clicking good time going on in your life now, that you will persevere in your faith and never let go of God just because you cannot see His hand.
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