11th December 2012

Living In Faith

“By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.”
Hebrews 11:3 (NIV 2011) 

I watched a fascinating programme which told the story of a blind man who was able to ride a bike. He had developed a very clever means of directing himself by sound. He makes clicking sounds with his tongue and then listens to the echo. In a very similar way to how bats navigate, he can avoid obstacles by listening very carefully.

This made me consider the gift of faith. Generally, the human race has got on without faith for thousands of years. We have developed science, medicine, music, literature and art. We can put people on the moon, build tower blocks to resist earthquakes and create amazing spectacles on cinema screens.

Without faith we can do so many incredible things. Yet, none of that makes up for the lack of faith. Take the example of the blind man. He is using his talents in remarkable ways, enabling him to do what we might think is impossible. But he still does not have sight. Try explaining colours, in terms of our other senses, without reference to sight. Not easy!

If the whole human race were without eyes, we would never know that flowers can be red, yellow or purple. Perhaps someone could, in a thought experiment, envision such a concept. Because no one would be able to see this, the thinker may be considered weird and receive criticism for being fanciful. But it would not stop colours from being true.

“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance of what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1). At the time Hebrews was written, Christians were persecuted for believing in only one God. A whole pantheon of gods, goddesses and other semi-divine beings were being worshipped around the Roman Empire. The critics hit out, declaring Christians to be foolish. Today, we have different adversaries.  Some atheists call us foolish for believing in any kind of God. History separates these critics by 2,000 years, but they are bound together by one thing: they lack faith.

“Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6). Faith gives access to aspects of the Universe that are otherwise invisible. The opposition of those who do not believe only underlines how remarkable this gift is. I look forward to the day when our Lord Jesus returns and all our faith will become sight. What a glorious day for the world that will be!

Dear Father, thank you for the precious gift of faith. Sometimes we do face criticism, even persecution.  Please renew the hope of Jesus within us, so that we can withstand such attacks. Fill our hearts with forgiveness for our critics, for they have yet to experience your presence in the world. We ask this, yearning for the day when all faith will be sight.

Study by Ian Woodley 

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