“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” ~Hebrews 11:1
I have always believed in God. I’m not saying that to brag; many ways I believe that has been to my detriment. Even in my cloudiest moments of life; when I was angriest with my circumstances, I could not deny God’s existence. I knew he was there…..even when distant, I knew he was watching, waiting, protecting me. This has been difficult for me at times when trying to relate to people in my life that
lack the faith have not been so fortunate to believe so firmly in a God to come into a relationship with Him.
Several years ago, I had a dear friend that was in this situation. Because of how much I cared for him, I wanted to share my “faith;” my relationship with Christ with him. He was so smart….. brilliant. He graduated at 18 with an Associate’s Degree a week before he received his high school diploma. At 20 he was beginning his Masters at Tech and already a T.A. Pure intelligence. The summer before he went to Tech I remember talking about his conflict between knowledge, specifically scientific and mathematical knowledge, and faith; belief in something that cannot be empirically defined. Recently I have been replaying that conversation over in my mind. I remember him saying, “Cody, I just don’t have [faith]. I never have. Do you think that faith is something I can find?”
At 18 years old, the best answer I could muster, was “I think so. I hope so.” I remember stumbling over words, attempting to explain that I believed that God so desperately loves us and desires a relationship with us that if open up our hearts just an inch he will come the the other mile or ten between us and Him. Afterward I prayed fiercely that I had made some sense and hadn’t done any damage. James 4:8 says, “Come near to God and he will come near to you.”
Today I began thinking about the concept of faith and what it really means. If we look at Hebrew 11:1, we are told that faith is both substance and evidence. Mere belief….however unwavering, is probably not enough. Hebrews 11, known as the “faith chapter,” lists the Greats of faith; individuals that allowed their faith in a trustworthy God to lead them to do awesome and mighty things, all to the glory of God. Some are named, (Abraham, Moses, Rahab, David etc) and some are not. Regardless, they are to be commended for their ability to take that “leap” and act for their God. They showed real evidence, real substance…..
So what evidence do I have to show? What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? (James 2:14) I find this question incredibly motivating. I try to act out my faith– show Christ’s love, share the gospel unapologetically…. but what about my heart? Is my attitude one of faith? To be wholly honest it isn’t.
I am an anxious person. Prone to fear. Some days are better than others but I am plagued by irrational fears of the “what ifs...” If I hear about a car wreck in Atlanta, I have to check on my sister….. I have been reduced to tears on a pontoon boat because I was afraid my little boy who wouldn’t sit down would fall overboard…..
When it comes to the big picture I lack the faith that God will see through his promises. The vision He has placed in my heart smolders rather than burns because my immature faith cannot see how it will all come to be. And I wonder, what affect my lack of trust toward my ever-loving Creator has on the small works I do perform? While constant, is mere acknowledgment of presence enough if I cannot trust Him? Imagine, in human terms, relationships where you logically “acknowledge” the presence of a family member, spouse or friend, but the bond is tainted because you cannot trust, confide or rely on that individual? And how ridiculous is it to impose that mistrust, fear, hesitation and trepidation on the most pure relationship one could possibly have? Christ’s love for us and His desire for us to be in perfect communion with Him should surpass any fear that I have. How confusing it must be for others I care about to speak about praying and relying on God to be faithful and then I turn around and kind of lose it every time I am personally faced with an obstacle.
I found a quote by Carl Jung, that says, “Faith cannot be made: it is in the truest sense a gift of grace.” If I have humbled myself enough to accept the gift of salvation, why would I then snub my nose at the gift of faith?
I don’t really have any answers– I am not an advocate of blind, unquestioning, unintelligent faith. I believe whole-heartedly that intelligence and the ability to reason are some of our Creator’s greatest gifts….and that if the young man I referred to earlier would ever come to Christ, his intelligence would allow him to have a powerful unwavering, move mountains type of faith in God. I once heard Matt Chandler in an interview that “have more faith” isn’t always the best answer. I agree with that. However, how many of us that call ourselves Christians are walking around faith-less. Do our actions and attitude speak to our belief? Do we acknowledge with our lips and deny with our actions?
How to move past this fear….how to place my hope of things tomorrow at the cross and move toward a more faithful walk, I am not entirely sure how to do; but I know that I want to be less, faith-less.