Over the last few days, the topic of faith has been on my mind and in my thoughts.
Hope is a very powerful thing. When I coached basketball, if we were up at halftime, I would tell my players in the locker room that they needed to bury the opponent in the 3rd quarter. Why would I tell them to do that? Because if the opponent was allowed to hang around and be somewhat close score-wise, the longer that occurred, the more hope it would have that it might actually be able to win. And the more hope, the harder it would play to make that possibility become a reality.
But if in the 3rd quarter that opponent was so buried in the score, it would have no hope of making a successful comeback in the 4th quarter. That opponent would seek to do its best, but it would lack an extra measure of strength because of the impossibility of winning the game.
That’s why hope is a very powerful weapon, and those who have it are powerful.
This is what the writer of Hebrews in the New Testament says in 10:38-11:2 (verse 38 is a quote from the prophet Habakkuk) – “‘But my righteous one shall live from/out of faith, and if he shrinks back, my soul will not delight in him.’ But we shall not be of those shrinking back unto ruin, but those of faith unto preservation of the soul. And faith is the giving of substance to things hoped for, and verification of things not seen. For in this the elders bore testimony.”
If I were to boil this all down to a single statement about what faith does, this is what it would say: “Faith means living and acting as if those things promised by God are already in existence even though there isn’t any empirical evidence substantiating it.”
From this, what is the key difference between people who live by faith and those who don’t? The need for empirical evidence. Those who do not live by faith doubt something is possible if no empirical evidence is at hand. Even when there is some on hand, any part of the journey forward beyond what the empirical evidence has shown, invites doubt.
But those who live by faith do not need empirical evidence in order to believe something is true, in order to move forward. It is enough that God has made the promise.
And here’s the thing about doubt – having doubt means being double-minded about something. It means wanting something to be true, but thinking that it may or may not happen because you cannot see the way forward.
And James, in his epistle, is very clear about what this person can expect from God – NOTHING.
So, if you say you believe you have received a promise from God and yet have doubt to some degree because you cannot see the way forward, then what must be called into question is how much you truly believe in that promise.
So, have you received a promise from God? Do you truly believe that? Then live like it is already reality even though you cannot see the way forward. And this is possible because God always comes through on His promises.
One last encouragement about this – don’t allow how you think it could or should happen limit the possibilities of how God will make it happen. God’s imagination is beyond comprehension, and, trust me, He is a very creative God.