Thursday, June 7, 2007

Faith Beyond Understanding

I’ve discovered something about believers, and I include myself in this. When it comes to matters of faith, we’re quick to believe things we can understand and base on fact or past experiences. Yet, our faith waivers when it comes to things that we cannot understand – things that seem impossible for even God to do.

We can easily believe that Jesus was God’s son. How else could over 10,000 prophesies of the Bible written by many different writers over a span of hundreds of years be fulfilled by Jesus’ birth, life, and death? It’s a logical conclusion that Jesus is the Son of God, otherwise, how would the prophets have known about him?

We can easily believe in the Genesis 19 account of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah by fire and brimstone when we read of archeological digs in the area uncovering a layer three foot deep of sulfuric ash. Since we understand that Brimstone is made of sulfuric stone, the evidence is received, and believed.

We know that even astrology is consistent with the Bible in that scientists still cannot number all the stars in the heavens, just as God spoke to Abraham in Genesis 22.

But what about believing in things we cannot understand? Can we believe that Jesus spoke and the storms in the ocean stopped, or do we suppose it was a coincidence that the storm stopped at that point? Can we trust that when God says in Isaiah 54:17 says “No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue which rises against you in judgment you shall condemn” means exactly what it says – that He will protect us and nothing can harm us? Can we believe that, based on Proverbs 4:5-6 statement “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths” that through our faith in Him, He will direct and keep us?

The problem is much like that college graduates often face. They need a job to gain experience, but must have experience to get a job. We sometimes stall out in our growth of faith because we cannot overcome our need to understand how God will achieve the impossible.

Have you ever noticed the interaction of a mother with her young child? The toddler moves around the room carefully, having barely learned to stand. He holds onto objects as he shuffles from the coffee table, to the chair, to the door, and back. The mother’s eyes are constantly on the baby. At the point the child starts to fall, the mother quickly decides if he will be harmed, or if he can just rest on his fanny. At the though of harm coming to her child, she rushes from her seat to protect him.

After a while, the baby learns that they are not going to get hurt walking around while Mom is there, so they try letting go of things and trying to do it on their own. Eventually they learn and have faith that they can walk, and will do it even when Mom isn’t around.

Our faith grows in much the same way. We learn what we can trust God for based on what we are blessed with – a home, a family, a job, food on the table, and even friends. But when it comes to something bigger, such as facing the loss of our job or losing our home, our faith waivers. We’re outside out comfort zone, where we’ve gained enough trust and faith to stand.

It’s like trying to walk down stairs in the dark. Each step is a step of faith because we cannot see what is ahead. What if we fall? What if we get hurt? What if there’s something on the stairs to hurt us? Our mind begins to worry and our faith waivers, and before long we’re scooting down the stairs on our behinds scared of what we think, with out limited minds, may happen next!

Job 37:5 says “God thunders marvelously with His voice; He does great things which we cannot comprehend.” Take a close look at this sentence.

First, we must understand who we put our trust in. It’s God. He made you from dirt, breathed life into you, gave his Son for you, put His Spirit in you, protects your comings and goings, causes you to prosper, and surely this all means He not only loves you - but He ADORES you! You are His child!

Second, even the thunder He creates gives us reason to marvel at His abilities, and the essence of His person. He is God. Creator and ruler of the universe, the one and only supreme being, and one day everyone else will bow to Him and declare with their mouth that He is God (Romans 14:11).

Thirdly, we simply will NEVER comprehend how He does the great things He does. We shouldn’t even try to understand when the Bible says we cannot. It’s a failing action to every hope to understand God’s ways. All we can do, and what we must do, is understand that it is all in His hands, and He is capable of all things.

Seek God. Seek to know Him not just for what you see around you, but intimately. Seek to hear His voice, trust His way in your life, and place yourself in His hands.

“For He is our God, and we are the people of His pasture, and the sheep of His hand.” – Psalms 95:7

“The LORD looks down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there are any who understand, who seek God.” – Psalms 14:2

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