"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." Hebrews 11:1 "Faith does not make things easy, it makes them possible." Luke 1:37 "Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase." Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
A long time ago in a far away land (our state of mind in the 70s), we actually thought deeply about things. Sometimes those thoughts were deepened by substances smoked or inhaled (not me), but there was a real desire to probe and to understand things beneath the surface. In fact, you appeared hip and with it if you could share your new-found wisdom or expound your analysis of what you believed to be the state of affairs at the time. A new movement was afoot that had started brewing in the late fifties, picked up steam in the sixties and continued and blossomed into full effect throughout the next decades. There grew an insatiable need to question all norms and to rebel against accepting what "they" (society) were telling us to do. We wanted more information. Like Marvin Gaye we wanted to know, "What's Going On?"
Everyone was set free to do as they pleased. This was like having shackles removed after having been bound for centuries. Everything was put under a microscope; all things were suspect. And yes, even the teachings of the church. I should say "especially the teachings of the church" with all those "thou shalt nots." This is my segue into my topic, "Faith." Why faith? Well, let's continue.
We soon learned that you cannot throw everything away and be left with a life that has meaning. Can you dig it? Seriously, when we think about faith, it is the crux of being and doing. Many of us think that faith is simply about what we wish for, pray for, and hope for. But, what is most important is that faith is the cornerstone; essential for receiving the things that were hoped for. "Faith is to believe what you do not see; the reward of this faith is to see what you believe." Saint Augustine. Faith is deep. It always has been.
Faith is not simply wishing for something. It is to believe that you already have it based on the character of the One who is able to give you the thing you are asking for. We are talking about the omnipotence of God. Faith is about your ability to suspend what you think and believe can be accomplished in your own strength and instead put complete trust in God. Trusting to the point that you will, at an advanced age, get up and go to an unknown location with your immediate family and then when you get there do something completely out of character and dangerous just because God said to do it. Abraham, referred to sometimes as the father of faith, because of his great faith did just that. Hebrews 11:8. Read more Abraham's story of faith in the Book of Genesis.
Are you digging this so far? Just checking. "Who hopes for what they already have?" Romans 8:24. We do not hope for what is already in our possession. That would be ridiculous or maybe forgetful. Either way, It is what we cannot seem to secure on our own that we long for and need God to provide. Let me tell you a well known secret (alright a truism), we will always need God. We were not created to be self-sufficient. We know this, but have some trouble completely accepting this. Not all of us. Let me make it perfectly clear, faith is no walk in the park, as I am sure that many of you already know or have experienced. It is hard to conceive that we already have what we are asking for if we believe we have it. Just think about that. It really blows my mind at times!!
The story of the woman in the bible with the issue of blood knew without a doubt that if she could just touch the hem of Jesus' garment, she would be healed. She did and she was healed. Jesus turned around to the woman and said, "Daughter, your faith has made you well. "Go in peace." Luke 8:43-48. King David, when he was a young boy knew that he could slay a giant that had been threatening his people because of his faith in God. Goliath never knew what hit him. 1 Samuel 17:48-49. The walls of Jericho fell down after the Israelites marched around the city walls for six days and seven times on the seventh day then blew their trumpets. Their enemies ended up killing themselves in the confusion of what was going on. Who can fathom that? What general would think this was a master plan of action? Only those who had or have the courage to have faith and trust that when God tells you that victory is secure because the battle is His, not yours or mine. The Israelites had faith and took God at His word and they won the battle. Joshua 6:1-27. Faith is a beautiful thing and it is deep.
Our new liberation from the rules made us feel as though we did not need any constraints. We were right and "they" were wrong. For a while this felt great. Then we discovered that without boundaries we floated without direction and ended up in places that brought us more pain than joy. Disease, addiction, lawlessness, broken homes, depression, was on the rise. After all, we were free, even free to be our worse. Those of us really in the know understood that our true nature had been unleashed, and we were in for one long disturbing ride. Those of us who had not caved into all aspects of the revolution prayed even harder. We knew that we were not created to live a life devoid of responsibility to God and others.
Faith is the assurance that the things revealed and promised in the Word are true, even though not seen, and gives the believer a conviction that what he expects in faith will come to pass. Do you believe this? Then you are on your way to appreciating what you have been believing for. "Therefore, I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer believe that you have received it, and it will be yours." Mark 11:24.
Faith will open doors that you knew were closed and that just by believing God will open them. How deep is that?
It is crucial to understand the power of faith. We have the power of God moving in us and acting on our behalf when we have faith in Him as demonstrated by our ability to let go and allow Him to do what He does. The Israelites did not know how they were going to win a battle against a powerful enemy. Neither would they have chosen the method of warfare that God directed them to follow. But, they realized the power available to them through faith. With God all things are possible if you only believe.
Do not give up when your faith seems to be low. It happens to the best of us. There are so many circumstances that will happen that may lead you to wonder whether you understand what faith is or whether you have any faith at all. When Lazarus died, his sisters Mary and Martha did not understand completely the power of God. They knew that there would be a resurrection someday and their brother would rise then, but they did not know that Jesus had the power and authority to raise Lazarus from the dead that day. John 11:38-44. Be open to how God answers your faith requests, always knowing who He is. Remember Peter in the bible. He had the faith to walk on the water because Christ called him to, but began to sink when he took his eyes off the Master. Keep your eyes steadfast and your heart in a position of trust. God can do anything but fail,and He is always working.
Why Do We Waiver in Our Faith? According to Dr. Charles Stanley, "there are at least eight reasons our faith falters: When we rely on our own logic, We allow feelings to overcome our faith, We don't see God in certain circumstances, Listening to wrong counsel; friends, We focus on the circumstances that dominate our thoughts, We may be ignorant of God's ways, Guilt from past sins, and finally, we may be listening to the enemy." Examine the preceding list and pray that you do not allow your faith to drop if you can help it. When we know better, we do better. Pray for God's help.
Strive for deeper faith. My Pastor, the Rev. Norman Coleman always says: "You know you have a good thing when you want to share it." Live your faith and share it with others. The more you talk about it, the more you want to and talking leads to honoring what you believe. God is definitely honored by your faith, people certainly benefit from a faith that is lived out before them. It is inspirational and encouraging and creates a desire to emulate. This is as it should be. Keep the faith! Go and Grow in it!
When things don't change, and it seems that your prayers are not being answered, that is the time when you have to stand firm. For me, I have had to review my faith from all angles in trying times and have come to understand that all I have to do is trust and believe. Sounds simple. It is not always. But, I have had to trust no matter what it looks like or feels like. My faith and your faith is being honored by God in whose character we can rely. He said in His word that when I ask, believe that I have received it. I DIG IT! Amen!
Our world has put up and continues to put up a good fight to do whatever we please, but we can all agree the question still begs an answer: In the midst of all this attention to ourselves, "Why does this way of life leave us so empty?" You ponder this on you own and respond as you see fit. In the meantime, let's think about getting back to basics. Prayer is a good place to start. Ask God through faith to live a meaningful life. A life that honors Him and serves others: Our best/blessed life. Can you dig it? Go in faith!!!
God bless you and may you never run out of faith!!!
Thank you always for your love and support. Remember, you can send comments to email@example.com and you can send a letter for which you would like a reply to my advice column at: AskYvette1@gmail.com