For we walk by faith, not by sight. 2 Corinthians 5:7
Now days it seems we are all facing an uncertain future and then we hear someone suggesting we walk by faith–faith in the God who promises never to leave you nor forsake you (Hebrews 13:5). On a real bad day you might feel like hitting that person but on another day you might consider that thought and explore the chances it is true.
Paul said in 2 Corinthians 5:7: “For we walk by faith, not by sight.” But even the idea of walking by faith seems contrary to common sense especially now when many people think God has forgotten us or worse yet, never existed. If we walked with sight, we would at least have things that can be seen to pin our hopes on: buildings, family traditions, schedules, our jobs, ministers, and the like. If we walk by faith, we have only the promises of God. But we also have “the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). We not only have God’s promises, we have the evidence from thousands of years of history that He has kept His promises to those who trust Him. And He will keep His promises for us.
By nature, we are sight-walkers, not faith-walkers. We tend to have confidence in what we can see, what we know. We fear what we can’t see and don’t know. In our world today there is a lot that has changed radically and quickly. There isn’t much left to have confidence in. Where we placed our hope has gone bankrupt, lost integrity, let us down. More than ever it is obvious to me that our hope lies in following the Lord by faith. Walk forward friends.
My good friend and spiritual mentor Randy is always warning me against preaching and I never attempt to do that in life or my blogs. However I do like to share what God has shown me over years of living with Him in my life. I guess that is one thing about blogs. They give you a chance to speak your mind and heart and people are free to read or not! I just wanted to say that before I go on with some thoughts on faith.
The world says “seeing is believing,” but God wants us to believe in order to see. The Psalmist said, “I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.”
Faith is to believe what we do not see, and the reward of this faith is to see what we believe. —St. Augustine
We have all heard the phrase, “I’m taking a step of faith,” when someone decides to take a step in a new direction. It sounds like faith is nothing more than blind optimism. A commitment to what God has put in our spirit to do is not just trusting God in the dark, jumping off a cliff into the unknown. Faith begins when God speaks and we choose to respond. Romans 10:17 explains, “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Every person mentioned in Hebrews 11, exercised their faith by responding to what God told them to do: Abel offered a sacrifice; Noah prepared an ark; Abraham offered up Isaac; Moses left Egypt. When God said, “Do this,” they did it.
When I put in the application for my present job a part of me said I’d never get it, I didn’t qualify in any way, and it was a higher level than I had experience in. But in my spirit God was saying, “I will enable you just as I always have, if I direct the door will open.” I believed His words and saw myself getting that job. I went to the interview with confidence and the belief that I could do the job. He can make a way where there is no way and that is where Faith enters in, taking the first step.
When I go miles and hours into the outback to a community I am doing my job but also serving the Lord far from home. When I knock off work around 4:30 I go to the accommodation I have in the community and I’m pretty much alone. I fix some dinner, check my e-mails and do some writing and then pick up my Kindle. There I have my Bible with Moses, Job, David, Isaiah, Peter, Paul and Jesus Himself as my companions. I have the Holy Spirit whispering to my heart. I have Jesus standing beside me and the Father listening to every prayer. I am not alone. The One who sent me is with me.
It is at times like that I feel the most inspired to write. I think of the years Paul spent in prison where he continued to write. All of those Bible characters speak of faith. That is the Faith of our fathers, the people who have gone before us. Faith without sight, just that quiet voice of the spirit.
I also have dozens of good books by people of strong faith in my Kindle. Some people think it is wrong to read anything but the Bible but I don’t agree with that. God spoke to the writers of the Bible and that is why we call it the “inspired word of God” and He is still on the throne, still in control and still speaking and inspiring people who are writing. God never changes; He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow… forever. So I believe that He inspires many of the modern-day writers. When I look at books I feel a directing in my spirit, an attraction to certain ones. So far they have all held gems of wisdom and truth in them that I needed and could use in my life. As I read their words, the writers are like good friends sharing their hearts and the trials they have been through and the ways God has helped them. They share their faith and it strengthens mine.
Faith is many things to many people. To me Faith is trusting God with my burdens, knowing that my prayers are already answered (Isaiah 65:24) and will come to fruition in God’s timing not mine. It’s being persuaded that God has the power to do what He has promised (Romans 4:21). Faith is knowing that all things work together for good to those who love Him (Romans 8:28). It’s being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see (Hebrews 11:1). I didn’t learn any of that overnight and I still struggle with it at times.
Paul said, “I have kept the faith.” He rejoiced in three things; he had “fought a good fight,” he had “finished his course,” he had “kept the faith.” I find myself wanting to accomplish that in my latter years and God has enabled me to do just that. He has given me good health, a sound mind and a job that I love where I can do the work He called me to when most people would be thinking of retirement. He has given me a testimony with just the fact that I am able to do His good will at this time when all circumstances say give up. How could I not have Faith in a God who put a calling on me at 16 and then opened a door when I’m ready to retire so I could accomplish it?
When you next read a headline that makes you worry or fear, think about faith and remember that in the beginning God created everything by His Word–a Word that never fails to accomplish the purpose for which it was spoken (Isaiah 55:11).
Think about me taking on a new job, driving hundreds of miles to small communities alone, because God wanted to accomplish the Word He had spoken to me over 30 years ago. He shut the door of retirement and opened the door to a whole new life for me. Not just for me but for the Aboriginal people in those communities who need what I have … Christ in me, the hope of glory.