Hebrews 11:1-2 Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for.
What a great definition of ‘FAITH’ this is – as long as we are clear on what it is NOT saying, and what it IS saying.
It is not saying that if I express confidence and certainty in anything that takes my fancy it will happen.
It is saying that, as a person of faith, I should never doubt God’s sovereign power and action to bring about everything that he promises in his Word. The author of Hebrews follows this definition up with a list of the Old Testament heroes of faith and how they demonstrated it in their own experience. I know the Holy Spirit has his own reasons, and I am not critical of his selection, but I am a little bit surprised that my hero of faith, Job, doesn’t get a mention! I know the reasoning will become clear in heaven, and I am quite happy to wait till then, but when poor, suffering Job was struggling with his God’s inexplicable providence in his own life experiences he was able to make unqualified, positive statements like, “Though he slay me, yet will I hope [trust] in him” (13:15), and “I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth.” (19:25), simply because that is what God had promised, and he is an excellent example of the Hebrews 11:1 definition. I don’t mean to detract from the exemplary faith of Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Moses, and all the others, but I do think Job belongs among them.
I like to think of being “certain of what we do not see” as ‘trusting God in the dark’, and I don’t come anywhere the ‘ancients’ in this regard! Someone has suggested that a good way to think about FAITH is with the acronym: ‘Forsaking All I Trust Him’, i.e. taking my loving, caring, faithful, sovereign God at his word without subjecting his promises to my limited, faulty, often too self-centred, calculations.
I would like to be able to say confidently with my hero, “Though he SLAY me, yet will I trust HIM”, but I come a long way short. ‘God loves, he cares, he knows – his love, though never dim, can only give the best to those who leave the choice with him!’ I will try hard to remember this next time I am anxious about what is happening around me, when I find myself questioning God’s providence (although my track record for success in this leaves a lot to be desired)!
Thank you, Lord, for your long-suffering patience with this loyal member of the ‘ye-of-little-faith’ set!
– Bruce Christian