Sunday, June 30, 2013

Faith or Trust?

I remember reading in "Nightlights" by James and Shirley Dobson a devotional which gave an example of faith: it compared faith to a tightrope walker crossing Niagara Falls on a tightrope. He had the usual pole, and he had a cart tied to his waist, which he pushed in front of him.
He asked a bystander, "Do you have faith that I will make it across?"
The bystander replied, "Yes, I do."
“Do you trust me?"
"Then get in the cart and go with me."

This is where the rubber meets the road. It is easy to say we have faith in what God says, but do we really trust Him? Will we 'put the rubber to the road' and go where we cannot see the outcome? In Hebrews, it says, "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." What we have here, is a situation where we have to believe that God will move on our behalf, when

a)      We can't see either Him or the outcome; and
b)      We don't know what it will cost us to do so

Then there is the account of Jesus walking on the water:

And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.”
So He said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!” And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” (Matthew 14:28-31)

I am finding, like Peter, as I get older that faith requires trust, i.e. acting on your statements of belief, even when you don’t know where you’re going, or what the outcome will be. And yes, there may even be situations where you have to something that scares you to death, like riding in a cart on a tightrope across Niagara Falls.

Now before you say that this is a far-fetched example, just remember: you never know what the Lord may require of you. Many Christians have died for their faith. Most of us have trouble believing God for the mortgage or the rent: and I don’t count myself out of this group.

But I take heart. Many things that have been “thorns in my flesh,” i.e. habits or learned behaviors that now affect my relationships with others, including my wife, take time and a lot of ‘renewing your mind” to un-learn, and be replaced by a more fruitful habit, like “[letting] no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.” (Ephesians 4:29) “Let the words you speak always be full of grace. Season them with salt. Then you will know how to answer everyone.” (Colossians 4:6)

This life isn’t easy. Even Jesus said, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” (1 John 16:33) And if Jesus can overcome this world, in Him, so also, can we.

I think it would be fitting to end with a challenge. I would challenge all of us to truly trust God for the outcome of those trials and challenges that face us, so that even by blind faith and nothing else, we will trust him for the outcome.

No comments: