Faith is a vital ingredient in everything we do. Sometimes we don’t realize all the everyday items in which we place our faith. We have faith that when we press an “on” button that something will happen – why else would we press it if we didn’t have faith that it would do what it is designed to do?
The writer of the letter to the Hebrews described faith this way: “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for, being convinced of what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1 NET). That is a good description of faith – we are convinced of something we don’t see, we are sure that what we expect is true and will happen.
How do we know how the world came into existence? “By faith we understand that the worlds were set in order at God’s command, so that the visible has its origin in the invisible” (Hebrews 11:3). Even those who believe in the theory of evolution have to have faith! Ultimately, those who believe in evolution say that life had to somehow come from something that wasn’t living, that order came from chaos. Whatever we believe about the origin of life and the universe, we must have faith.
Faith is necessary if we want to be pleasing to God. “Now without faith it is impossible to please him, for the one who approaches God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him” (Hebrews 11:6). That just makes sense. If we want to approach God and be near to him we first have to believe that he is there! And why would we want a relationship with God if we did not believe that this was of some benefit to us?
Sometimes faith is required even when what God asks doesn’t make sense to us. Think about Noah, Abraham and Sarah. Noah was told to build a huge boat because rain and a flood to cover the entire earth was coming. There had never been a flood like this and there hasn’t been one since then. Yet Noah had faith in God and built the boat and saved his family and humankind.
Can you imagine being told to move somewhere you had never heard of? This is what God asked of Abraham – and he went with no idea of his destination. Why would a person do this, leaving their family and friends behind to become a nomad, living in tents? “For he was looking forward to the city with firm foundations, whose architect and builder is God” (Hebrews 11:10). He had faith in God.
This faith extended to his wife, Sarah. Sarah was an old woman and had never been able to have children. But God said that it was through her that a great nation would come. In their old age, Abraham and Sarah had a child. “Therefore, from one man — in fact, from one as good as dead — came offspring as numerous as the stars of the sky and as innumerable as the grains of sand along the seashore” (Hebrews 11:12).
Just because we have faith doesn’t mean that we will see or even understand everything that we believe in. Abraham was promised that his descendants would be numerous, would inherit a land, and eventually through one of his offspring all the world would be blessed. He did not live to see any of these, but he believed God. And all of these happened!
Faith is necessary to be pleasing to God. If God said he will do it, he will do it, even if we don’t see it during our time on earth.
Jesus said, “All things are possible for the one who believes.” The response was, “I believe; help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:23-24).
May God increase our faith and help us when we struggle to believe.
Readings for next week:
26 March – Hebrews 8
27 March – Hebrews 9
28 March – Hebrews 10
29 March – Hebrews 11
30 March – Hebrews 12