Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. -- Hebrews 11: 1 (NIV)
A friend asked me yesterday how I can be so sure God exists. The easy and worldly answer is that we cannot be sure. Because God cannot be boxed, contained, measured and controlled as man understands things. Without quantifiable scientific controls it is easier for man to assume that God is a creation of the mind than an actual reality. Christians say that God created man and those who do not believe say that man created God. Let the debate rage.
I can get into the many logical reasons to believe in the story of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. There are very few people, even atheists, who dismiss the existence of Jesus. Every religion admits He existed. This son of a carpenter from a little known and unspectacular town would turn the entire world upside down. He did so in only three years. Think about that for a second. This otherwise unknown person preached for only three years yet everything in the world would be changed forever. His followers would all allow themselves to be martyred for Him. Then there is the Bible itself. Have you ever considered the fact that the Bible remains consistent in theme and congruent throughout despite being comprised of 66 books, written by 40 authors, over a period of 1500 years! It was written in three different languages, across three different continents, by people from completely different walks of life. There are fishermen, shepherds, and nobility -- all writing without knowledge that the others would be, yet there are no inconsistencies or contradictions in the entire book. Now, I love a good conspiracy theory but to think this was conspired is simply ridiculous. And even if you thought it was -- why would they do it? Why go to such lengths to deify this son of a carpenter from Galilee? Why allow yourself to be tortured for Him? Why allow yourself to be beheaded for Him? Why demand that you be crucified upside down because you felt unworthy to die in the same manner as Him? If you want to read an excellent, scientific proof of Jesus as God -- read The Case for Christ by Lee Stroebel.
But these are all carnal and worldly arguments. These are all trying to intellectualize the existence of God. They have their place but I want to ask a different question. How can someone be so sure there is NOT a God? How can an atheist view a sunset and think it is just a random event?
The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship. Day after day they continue to speak; night after night they make him known. They speak without a sound or word; their voice is never heard. Yet their message has gone throughout the earth, and their words to all the world. -- Psalm 19: 1-4 (NLT)
Creation screams out at us every day that there is a creator. But are we listening? Or are we pre-disposed to find reasons why he does not exist? Ultimately, man finds what it is that he looks for. Those who seek to doubt God will find reasons to doubt Him and those who want to believe will find reasons to do so. It is human nature. Yet as compelling as the rational and creational reasons may be, the true answer to my friend's inquiry is -- faith. Faith is the reason I believe. It is what separates out Christians from agnostics. You see there are very few real atheists in this country, probably around 6%. The majority of people believe in God but they consider themselves agnostic, which is a fancy way for saying they think the understanding of God is too high above them. It is an intellectually lazy way of not having to contemplate what God might want. It allows them to recreate God in their own image, to compensate for their own sins. It is salad bar theology where we pick the portions of the Bible we like and discard those that make us uncomfortable. But true faith is what makes the difference between being a believer and being a skeptic.
The position my friend found himself in is one we all face as believers. It is usually when something comes against us in our lives. When we go through something painful or unsettling. When we go through a period of unrest or uncertainty. One of the largest misperceptions of the Christian life is that everything is hearts and rainbows once you are saved. This is a byproduct of poor teaching at the church level where there are too many people using Christianity to sell earthly prosperity. These moments in our lives are the proving ground of our faith. They are what strengthen our faith. Can we go back to the world? I guess so but after you have tasted the goodness of God; you know there is nothing but misery waiting for us in the world. There is no going back when we find ourselves in the valley. There is no going back because the world no longer has anything to offer us. We see the lies and know the heartache. Well if there is no going backwards in the valley that only leaves two choices. The first is what we do too often and that is sit down. We sit down and wonder where God is. We sit down and question Him. We sit down and engage in self pity. I say we because I am not exempt -- no one is because we all still live in this fallen world. This year alone I have experienced more self-pity and questioning of God then I had in the previous ten years combined. But at the end of the day I cannot dismiss everything God has done for me. I have faith because I have a testimony. We all faith because we have a testimony. The Bible says we defeat Satan by the blood of the lamb and the word of our testimony. I cannot go backwards and I can no longer sit down. The only way when we find ourselves in the valley of the shadow of death is to walk forward in Christ knowing that He who started a good work in you will be faithful to complete until the day Christ returns.
You see the key verse show that God understands the dilemma faith faces within the limited confines of our own existence. The first part of faith is being sure of what we hope for. Well hope by definition is something that has not happened yet. We haven't seen it yet. Our hope is in the Lord Jesus Christ and the Gospel in which we have believed. Our hope is in the fact that He has given us His Holy Spirit to guide us until the day that He comes back. Our hope is in the fact that we will have eternal life in the presence of He who created us. Hope does not require proof -- it requires faith. The second part is that faith is certain of what we do not see. We are quite lucid as believers, or at least we should be. We understand that God is not seen visibly. We understand that God cannot be measured by the measurements of man. Yet we believe in gravity although we cannot see it. We have faith all the time as humans. Science to a large part is essentially faith based. That is what theory is. The "big bang theory" for example is what man concocted to dismiss God as the Creator of the universe. The theory says that all matter in the entire universe once sat on a single space no larger than the head of a pin then randomly exploded, for no particular reason, creating everything in the universe just as it is. Placing the sun in complete randomness exactly where it need to be in relation to earth in order for life to be possible. That out of rock, single cell organisms emerged. Followed by multi-cellular organisms and through a process of evolution"voila! Man arrived. Wow. That takes a lot more faith than I have because I just think God spoke the universe into existence! The word universe when broken down means -- "single spoken sentence." That'll preach!
The true answer of faith is built upon what God does in our lives. I have faith because He saved me. I remember who I was before Jesus Christ and while I am not where I ought to be -- thank the Lord I am not where I was! I have watched Him heal me and deliver me. Take a man who suffered from panic disorders for seven years and turn him into a public speaking preacher. I have watched Him heal people I know. I have watched Him literally change doctor's reports. I have heard Him speak directly to my heart and show me great and unsearchable things I had not known. I have felt Him carry me when I could no longer walk. Comfort me when I no longer could cry. Assure me when my own faith wavered"like my friend may have been going through yesterday. Like we all go through in this walk with God. Wavering faith is an opportunity to remember all God has done for us instead of focusing on what we think He ought to be doing. Of that I am sure.