The hallmark of Christianity is faith, defined pointedly in Hebrews 11:1 as “The assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things unseen.” Faith is the substance of the Christian life; through grace we’re saved by it and the just in turn live by it (Hebrews 10:38). But beside its undermining value as cliché, what is faith and what does it look like?
I recently found myself praying to God that my life, if being read like a book, would garner critique as being completely illogical. Using the world’s paradigm, faith, generally speaking, isn’t logical: so much so that if you entertain what the world is saying, it’s easy to subscribe to the philosophies, feelings and guidelines that it proposes. I think it’s safe to say that faith isn’t easy.
Besides, what business did Abraham have, clinically speaking, believing that Sarah would give birth to Isaac at age 90? This example of faith, (actually THE example of faith in the New Testament) shouldn’t serve as an extreme case but rather a template.
Abraham and Sarah’s miracle birth of Isaac would probably invoke overuse of the term “impossible” in the medical community today. But impossible doesn’t have application to the faith-filled person. It isn’t received naturally. Abel, Enoch and Noah, as described in Hebrews 11, didn’t receive the world’s perception of impossible, so why should I when they’re the ‘fathers of my faith?’ These people were baseline examples in describing what faith is by the author of Hebrews and others speaking out of the evangelism of the early church.
Faith comes alive and is revealed in the midst of poor circumstances. True faith is tempered in these times. And faith can only be considered for what it is completely separate of circumstance (like the obvious circumstances surrounding the promise of conception at age 90).
With faith, there can’t be an exit strategy or fall back plan in your prayer life, because that’s the absence of faith. As a church, we should be praying with less “if it’s your will God” and more “let your will be done on earth just as it is in heaven.” There should be less “if’s” in our prayers if we truly believe that we have access to the throne and some inside information as to what His will is (aka the life of Jesus; see Ephesians 1:8-9).
“With all wisdom and understanding, he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.” (Ephesians 1:8-9)
Impossibility is OK
Impossible should sound familiar, and it also shouldn’t scare us one bit. The God of the impossible is very near, so I like my odds. We're also the benefactor of scripture, in the form of the example set by the fathers and mothers of our faith. A mother at 90, a catastrophic flood, calling down fire from heaven on a waterlogged altar (Sarah, Noah, Elijah). We’re in good company. No exit strategies, “if’s,” “and’s,” “but’s,” or permission to believe anything less than the impossible, just faith and not necessarily reason.
Faith isn't Rocket Science
If intellect was on par with faith, than we'd probably see a lot more college professors and doctors acknowledging God, but instead they tend to invest in foolish theories that can and will lead to their own destruction, or least ignorance. It's possible to gain the interest and praise of the world, yet forfeit your soul. That forfeiture may happen more in circles where education is paramount. It's not to say that we Christians aren't smart, but it is to say that faith isn't and never will be a complicated matter.
Revealed to Children, Hidden from the Wise
There's no message more just than the Gospel. You don't need to qualify or be educated to get it. You just have to have faith. Jesus even says in Matthew 11 about his message that it would be hidden from the learned, yet revealed to little children. He even says that this way is well pleasing in God's sight. God's way is that you don't need a doctorate degree to accept and receive him. In fact, the thinking that tends to follow the educated and learned could lead them further from the simplicity of biblical truth. That's amazing to me.
At that time Jesus said, "I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. (Matthew 11:25)