A Hard Lesson About Faith
November 12, 2017
At some points in the long walk of faith, our understanding of what it means to “live by faith” sometimes gets off-kilter. We begin to think of faith primarily in transactional terms—believe and God delivers what you desire—and seemingly forget its basic relational nature. That imbalance explains why many believers experience faith crises when they pray and things don’t go as they had hoped. The internal struggle that follows disappointment and the simple reasoning undergirding it goes something like this: “I believed God would do X and Y, but He didn’t. How can I continue to put my faith in Him?” In so reasoning, they question His power (could He have done it?), knowledge (does He know what He is doing?), disposition (does He love me?), and, depending on the depth of despair, His very existence (is He even there?). The reasoning betrays a misunderstanding of the fundamentals of faith.
Biblical faith requires understanding two basic precepts: He is God (He exists and bears all the attributes that designation entails) and we are humans (with everything that entails). There is a vast gap (in knowledge, power, etc.) between us and Him that triggers our dependence and need to believe. We may not understand why we have to experience the pain of disappointment, but we are to understand and accept that God, who is omniscient, omnipotent and benevolent does. Faith is thus fundamentally about accepting and living from the presupposition that our lives are secure in God. Hurts and disappointments cannot take that security away, so even when we are not okay, faith reminds us that we really are.