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"Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen." Hebrews 11:1
A wise man once said that when you really pay attention, everything becomes your teacher. When we take the time to appreciate the wonders of creation, we can learn a lot about the Creator and His ways. In fact, the whole creation sings His glory. I just happened to learn some practical truths about faith recently. My teachers were a snow flurry and a bunch of naked trees in my backyard.
My seven-year-old daughter enjoys slamming me with questions that, sometimes, I don’t see coming. She happens to have a question for every situation. One afternoon, as she was playing on the balcony and testing my knowledge on trivial matters, she suddenly stopped, puzzled while gazing at the trees in the backyard. A few seconds later, she snapped out of her sudden stillness to ask me why it was snowing on the first day of Spring. She was right. It was snowing, and it was the first day of spring. While I was asking myself the same question, she interrupted my flow of thoughts to ask me if it was no longer spring. For a moment, the answer to her question seemed fairly obvious as I was assuming at that point that in her little mind she was thinking since it was snowing we must have reverted to winter. I gently replied that she needed to be patient after confirming that it was still springtime despite the snow and the nakedness of the trees. I also added that she just needed to have faith. She smiled, glanced at the scenery again as if to confirm what I just told her before heading to the living room and disappearing around the nearest corner. I stayed a bit longer on the balcony gazing at the horizon and pondering everything I just told her. Little did I know that my last answer would be the starting point of a major shift in my Christian life.
The fact that simple things can be right under our nose and yet, we don't even dare see them, can be quite hilarious. Until we sit back and look at situations, contexts, and even nature from a different perspective we may never uncover truths that are hiding in plain sight.
To put it into perspective, I was struggling with my faith in many ways, honestly. I used to scoff at sayings along the lines of "faith it till you make it" or "you've got to have faith". The main issue for me was this: how do I believe something is coming or something is mine when the feeling of having it or of it coming is missing? Although I understood the concept in itself, it was quite hard for me, honestly, to wrap my head around it.
The issue for me was this: how to believe something is coming or something is mine when the feeling of having it or of it coming is lacking?
Now, don't get me wrong, what I call the "major aspects" of faith are pretty much anchored in my belief system. I mean, I strongly believe God's teachings are true and that the Lord Jesus Christ is the son of God and that He resurrected Him from the dead, etc. I was mostly struggling with the "little stuff". You know, the minor details that you tend to deal with on your own and not take the time to talk to God about. Yeah, those kinds of stuff. A very simple example would be the following: I pray and talk to God about my very specific situation. Days and weeks go by and I don't see any changes. I feel at that point that He has other plans for me. So, I move on and take matters into my own hands. You get the point, right? I simply did not know how to stand my ground when it comes to faith. I would simply give up when the circumstances are contrary to what I am expecting. It is safe to say that I needed to "be transformed by the renewing of my mind." (Romans 12:2) That is exactly what happened that day on the balcony with my daughter.
I never would have expected to see such a major struggle of mine being addressed in such a simple and innocent way. I prayed and talked to God about it. His answer came in the most unexpected and unpredictable way. So, back to the balcony. I am gently looking straight into my daughter's eyes and calmly telling her to be patient, for the leaves will surely come out. I added that even if she cannot see them now, Spring is still upon us. I paused for a second or two before adding that she needed to have faith even when what she is seeing now does not completely align with what is true. That's when it hit me, that voice deep down whispering "see? this is what it means to have faith". I realized that having faith is a matter of focusing on the truth regardless of what the eyes or the other senses are communicating. No wonder why the apostle Paul clearly mentioned in 2 Corinthians 5:7 to "walk by faith, not by sight". The whole process makes more sense to me now.
having faith is a matter of focusing on the truth regardless of what the eyes or the other senses are communicating.
After much thought, I come to realize that the matter of having faith is rather straightforward. My perspective was in a dire need of change. I needed to believe and recognize that:
I have to admit that I am not completely there yet. A lot has happened since that day on the balcony, though. The process may take some time and practice but, I am determined to trust God more and more each day with all my heart and to not lean on my own understanding. (Proverbs 3:5)
I hope and pray that my personal experience becomes useful to you and help you in your Christian faith as well. Please tell us in the comment section below what has been your experience with your faith. I really would like to know.