DayBreaks for 10/03/19: The Nature of Faith
From the DayBreaks archive, September 2009:
I think that Christians struggle with faith. That statement can be interpreted at least two different ways: 1) that we struggle to believe, and 2) that we struggle to understand what faith is.
We all understand the first struggle rather implicitly. We know there are times we find it hard to believe. We may not struggle to believe that God exists (though we may, from time to time), but this first struggle is more pronounced when we find ourselves or someone/something that we love that is in great pain and anguish. In that case, we struggle with our faith in the proclamation that “God is a good, loving God.”
The second case is more the one I’ve been thinking about lately. I feel confident that the world doesn’t understand the very nature of faith. All you have to do is read carefully what is said about “those Christians” and you’ll quickly see that they believe people of faith have taken leave of their senses. They think that to have faith in God is superstition – nothing more and nothing less than blind, ignorant wishful thinking.
Is that really true? Is that the real nature of faith? I don’t believe so. Our faith is neither baseless nor wishful thinking. If you didn’t believe (have faith) in the law of gravity, would you ever jump upward to grab a basketball or in a frenzy of joyful dancing leave your feet? No, you wouldn’t. If you believed that you would just keep going up and depart the atmosphere into the void of space where you’d suffocate, you’d never jump! We have faith that the laws of gravity will not be superseded even once when we jump. And that faith is based on observance of the situation and past performance.
We sometimes say we have faith in someone. What is that faith based on? It’s based on observation of that person and their character over some period of time that has shown them to be faith-worthy. The same is true for the fact that we have faith that the brakes on our car will work, that the steering mechanism won’t become disconnected and that the key to our front door will continue to work in the lock as long as the lock doesn’t change. Even though molecular motion says that the molecules in the lock (and in the key and in our hands, etc.) are constantly moving, we believe the key will still work in the lock because of the history we’ve had with the lock.
The same is true of Christian faith. It is not a blind, thoughtless, ignorant superstition, but an intelligent response to evidence we see all around us, to the past performance of the One that we see as the explanation for all that exists. Atheists must have faith in something – for them it is chance and time that they put their faith in as the explanation for what they see and experience. But what of the things we can’t see? They never can explain how anything came to be (how did the matter in the big bang come to exist?) in the first place – even if time and chance were the operative factors involved.
So, faith isn’t foolish. Faith is reasonable. Faith is based on past observations about reliability and performance. No one would realistically walk up to a total stranger on the street corner who is unshaven, homeless and filthy and hand them their life savings and say, “I trust you’ll keep this safe for me.” Why? Because we don’t know if they are reliable. God, however, has demonstrated faithfulness throughout every generation. And we can go to Him, hand Him our eternal destiny, and with faith say, “I trust you’ll keep this safe for me.”
We have faith because of reliability, a proven track record, personal experience and because it is the only reasonable thing to do. Faith isn’t blind.
PRAYER: We are grateful that You have proven Yourself over and over to us and that You will always be worthy of our faith in You! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Copyright by 2019 by Galen C. Dalrymple. ><}}}”>