“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”
(Hebrews 11:1 (ESV)
“Seeing is Believing,” or so the saying goes. I have to admit, being around the block a time or two, this adage has taken root in my life.
“I’ll clean my room dad, right after this show ends.” Right. I’ve heard that before.
“You’ve been entered in a drawing for a fabulous prize, no purchase necessary.” Sure.
“We’ll be there to fix your cable between 9 and 11.” Uh huh.
“If you elect me, it won’t be politics as usual…” I believe it when I see it.
Is it wrong to be so jaded? I’d like to think that I am an optimistic person, I look for the best in other people. Still, I’ve been let down. I’ve let people down. To be honest, I’ve even disappointed myself. So while I may be hopeful, I am a realist. Perhaps I’ve got some Missouri “Show-Me” State blood in me after all (perish the thought). I’ll believe it when I see it, because seeing is believing.
That’s really not the way of faith. Hebrews 11:1 tells us that “faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” We are told that Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness (Gen 15:6; Rom 4:3). Abraham was old, really old, and God promised Abraham that his offspring would outnumber the stars. This was impossible, there was no way Abraham could have said, “Yeah, I see how that could happen.” But still he believed. He trusted that what God said, God would do. For Abraham, believing allowed him to see; believing was seeing.
Paul, when the ship taking him to Rome was tempest-tossed, encouraged the men on board saying, “there will be no loss of life among you, but only the ship. For this very night there stood before me an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I worship, and he said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul; you must stand before Caesar. And behold, God has granted you all those who sail with you.’ So take heart men, for I have faith in God that it will be exactly as I have been told. But we must run aground on some island” (Acts 27:21-26). There was no tangible evidence that the passengers and crew of this ship would survive, the storm and the sea surely would destroy them. But Paul believed. He trusted that what God said, God would do. For Paul, believing allowed him to see; believing was seeing.
And so we have deliverance from our pessimistic, jaded attitude; we can trust in the promises of God. What are you struggling to believe? Do God’s promises seem so farfetched, so unattainable, so impossible that their just not worth believing? Believe God, and you will see how God is doing impossible things all the time. Remember, “all things are possible with God” (Mark 10:27).
The good news is our Christian faith is not a blind faith. Rather, our faith allows us to see. In faith, believing the witness of the Word of God, we see how God has worked in the past to deliver and renew His people. In faith, we see the love of God poured out for us on the Cross of Christ to ransom us and save us from sin. In faith, we see how God has called us from death to life. In faith, we see how all of God’s promises have been confirmed, and that God is faithful and just to complete what He has started. In faith, then, we can also look forward in hope and see that “goodness and mercy shall follow us all our days, and [through Christ] we shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever” (Psalm 23).
May you be strengthened in your faith, so that you may believe and see the goodness of God.