April 1, 2008

Walking by Faith

Every now and then I try to do a normal task with my eyes shut. I know, this is weird. However it helps me not only appreciate my eyesight, but better understand those who cannot see. Moving about without vision is also a bit like walking by faith.

In several places, the Bible says “walk by faith, not by sight” meaning that God is not always going to show me the results of doing what He says before I do it. I am supposed to trust Him and step out, much like I trust that the floor is there when my are eyes closed and I take that next step.

Faith is about knowing and not knowing. Sometimes I know. That is, faith gives me an inner knowing that is so strong that I just know something is true or going to happen. One time we were going to move to another city. My husband was given a tip on a good rental house. After hearing about it, and praying, I just knew we were going to live in that house. My husband called and the landlord said he’d just rented it to someone else. Oddly, I still had that deep sense of knowing we would live in that house. A few days later, we found out that first rental agreement fell through and the house was ours.

I cannot explain that kind of knowing except that the Bible says, “Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” This is an apt description of what happened with that house.

That same deep certainty is also part of what it means to be saved and have a relationship with God. John penned, “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life” (1 John 5:13). We can know, even when we cannot see it.

But sometimes we don’t know in that way. Sometimes we are not absolutely certain that what God says is true or will happen. In a conversation with the Jews after He taught in the temple, Jesus heard them say, “How did this man get such learning without having studied?

Jesus answered that His teaching was not His own but came from the One who sent Him. Then He added, “If anyone chooses to do God’s will, he will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own” (John 7:15-17).

That line has always intrigued me. In this scene, the Jews doubted Jesus’ authority to teach. My doubts are more about questioning whether what He tells me is going to work or not. This is a different form of doubt, but both stand between the doubter and obedience.

Jesus’ words, “If anyone chooses to do God’s will, he will find out . . .” hints strongly that only after I obey God will I know for sure that what He says is really true. My experience backs this up. Faith can be this deep knowing, but it is more about the object of faith. Do I really believe that God is true, never lies, wants the best for me, and is able to do “exceedingly abundantly above all I can ask or imagine”? Do I trust that when He says something He means it?

I’m amazed at the balance of these two things. Sometimes I need to just know something is right or true or going to happen. That deep knowing keeps me on an even keel emotionally and helps me move forward.

However, sometimes I walk blindly without knowing where the next step will take me, only that God is directing my steps and that I know Him. Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and he will make your paths straight.

Blind or knowing where I go, this amazing God that I serve will not lead me astray.

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