by Diane Harris
11 Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. 2 This is what the ancients were commended for. 3 By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible. 4 By faith Abel brought God a better offering than Cain did. By faith he was commended as righteous, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith Abel still speaks, even though he is dead. 5 By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death: “He could not be found, because God had taken him away.”[a] For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God. 6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. 7 By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that is in keeping with faith. 8 By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. 9 By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. 10 For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God. 11 And by faith even Sarah, who was past childbearing age, was enabled to bear children because she considered him faithful who had made the promise. 12 And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.
Faith plays such an important part in our Christian walk and our relationship with our Heavenly Father. God says, “without faith it is impossible to please Him”. Even more, without faith it is impossible to accomplish anything in our lives for Him or for ourselves.
I spent a lot of time whining, crying, and worrying over things I could do nothing about – a lot of time doubting God. It was important for me to learn how to trust God in the midst of my circumstances. Faith is no easy task. It had to be learned and what better way for God to teach us except through our trials? The stories that I wrote about were all about faith and just learning to believe God and applying His word to every situation. I don’t even remember most of the things I worried about. I wrote about a sign I read one day that said, “Try Me”. Those two words have come to my mind too many times to mention, because God wants us to keep trying Him. I want you to know that every time I said “Ok God, show me how you can fix this”, He ALWAYS fixed it, but most times He fixed it in a way that was totally unexpected. The answers would come in such a way that I knew only God could have done this. My faith grew little by little because God was using those times of need to build my trust and faith in Him. Every time He came through for me, he was showing me a number of things. First – that he hears me when I pray. Second – that I can believe His Word. Third – that He actually knows where I am and what it is I need. Fourth – He cares about me. I could go on and on, but the jist of it is, He is who He says He is and will do what He says He will do, but I have to put into practice His Word, otherwise I will not get to see Him in action.
Faith is believing – not what I see, but what God’s Word says. There is a saying “seeing is believing”, but where faith is concerned, it is the opposite – “believing is seeing”. Many situations I’ve encountered looked like there was no way out by my standards. I did not have the answer to the problem, so I would get discouraged. The solution would literally take an act of God. Most often an answer would come when I would give up on trying to find a way where there was no way. I would get down hearted and just turn it over to the Lord. But God did not want me to be discouraged or depressed. The Word tells us to “count it all joy”. For real, it is difficult to find joy in the midst of turmoil. For me the joy came when I would go to the Word and read it back to God. That was more for my benefit than God’s. He knows what He put in His Word. I would look up Bible verses and as I read, I would be encouraged. I would try to memorize them, like:
- Psalm 46:1 God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. –
- Psalm 59:16 But I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love; for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble.
- Psalm 50:15 and call on me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me.”
- John 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
- Isaiah 41:10 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
- Psalm 34:6 This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles.
God placed so many verses in the Bible that are too numerous to count, to encourage and help us in our time of need. In the midst of my situation, I would sit still and God would remind me of His Word, and all the things He had accomplished for me in the past – all the answered prayers, the needs that were met and I would begin to feel a whole lot better about the situation. Joy would well up in my heart as God reminded me of all He had done for me. The song I’ve sung, “He’ll do it Again” would come to mind and I would start singing and praising the Lord. Because of what He has done, my thoughts and words would begin to be positive and I would start thanking God for working this particular problem out. I found that when I trust and believe God’s Word and apply that Word to any situation I cannot fix myself, God rewards me for my faith by working it out and more importantly, giving me a testimony for others. Because I believe in Him and His word goes out and does not come back void, I can now rest and start waiting on the Lord to work this problem out too. But guess what? It seemed like the trials would get harder and harder – and that would be God growing my faith.
I learned that what I see, feel or hear isn’t the final word. We are not to be moved by our physical senses or the circumstances around us. We are to believe what God has said in His Word. We are to do what God’s Word says to do. We are to listen for His still small voice and do what we believe in our heart God is telling us to do. And after we have done all that we are supposed to do, we are to wait on God. We are to stand and watch God work.
Prayer is so important. It is our communication with God. So we take the problem before our Heavenly father and pray about it. We pray and agree with other believers at church and don’t forget to read the Word. Sometimes we don’t know where to go in the word, but I’ve learned that God will show us what to read that will relate to the issue at hand. More often than not, something in the Bible will jump out at you.
God has special chapters, verses and words that will just speak to our heart. He will lead us to them if we just ask and then expect God to direct us.
I don’t want to be a hearer of the Word only. I want to be a doer of God’s Word and do exactly what the Word tells me to do. Often my faith would be tested. I would want immediate answers and responses from God. But that very seldom happened. Not always, but sometimes It would get worse before it would get better. I believe it is the enemy throwing obstacles in the way because the devil is trying to make us doubt God. But God is allowing the enemy to do this so that we can be strengthened. Most times faith does not come easy. God is allowing our faith to be tested to determine whether we really believe in our heart what God has promised. But most important, more than the answer to what we want, we should be seeking God’s will, which is found in His Word. God never violates His Word.
So how do we relate to Hebrews 11:1-12? Believe it or not, when I read this chapter of Hebrews, I could relate to it in such a powerful way. Everything that has been accomplished in my life has required me to call on God in faith – first believing that He hears me and then believing He will answer. These verses are talking about what faith is and giving us excellent examples of faith and how it works. It lists great men of the Bible who did things we may never get to do. They did so many great acts of faith, and it’s like God was so proud of them and because of their faith, they are still talking to us today as great examples. Those specifically mentioned – Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Moses, and the prophets were the great heroes of faith. They are so, because they believed God. They are our examples. But we can be examples too! We are the examples for all our family and whomever God brings into our lives. They see our faith in action and how God responds and thus they are encouraged. We won’t be mentioned in the Bible because it has already been written. But our acts of faith can be seen and passed on by word of mouth from our generation to the next – to our children and grandchildren, friends and acquaintances. They see what God has accomplished in our life through our acts of faith. Our actions will be placed in their hearts and in the hearts of all those we have encountered. Our acts of faith are just as important as the heroes that God has mentioned in the Bible. Believe it or not, the heroes of faith weren’t born with that faith. They had to grow into it as we do. Our life is the testing and proving ground for our faith in our Heavenly Father. I believe He’s proud of us too!