What is Faith?

Here is a quote I came across a couple months ago: Faith is not believing God can, but that God will!

But what if He doesn’t?

I couldn’t help but look at those words and ask what about the people who have lost loved ones? Or parents who prayed and prayed for their child to live, but their child died anyway? Or the man who lost his job and eventually his home?

Did they not have enough faith? Did they not pray enough? Or is faith something more?

Last year I found my faith stretching beyond anything I had ever known. For the first time in my life, I believed God could do anything, not just with my head, but with my heart. That faith carried me through some of the darkest moments of my life… until nothing happened.

God didn’t come through.

I couldn’t believe it. It was the biggest letdown ever. I had prayed, prostrated myself before God, and thought for sure that God was behind us. But He didn’t show up.

I felt alone and devastated. Was my little kernel of faith just not big enough? Mentally and emotionally I felt like I was being sucked down into a vortex of darkness. Could I trust God anymore? And what is faith really?

It was the story of three men that made me start to think there is more to faith than just believing God will do something. The men’s names were Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. Most people know them by Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. They were three young men taken captive by King Nebuchadnezzar and sent off to Babylon where they served him.

In Daniel chapter 3, Nebuchadnezzar creates a statue of gold and commands his people to bow and worship it when the music starts to play. The music plays, and everyone bows… except for those 3 men.

They are brought before Nebuchadnezzar. He tells them he will give them a second chance. But if they fail to obey and bow down, he will throw them into the blazing furnace. “And then what god will be able to rescue you from my power?” (Daniel 3:15)

Here is their response: ”O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is able to save us. He will rescue us from your power, Your Majesty.

But even if He doesn’t, we want to make it clear to you, Your Majesty, that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up.” (Daniel 3:16-18).

Did you catch that? These men knew God could save them. They had faith. But their faith wasn’t based on what God would do; it was based on God Himself. That is why they could say even if He doesn’t. Even if God did not save them, they would still follow Him and not bow down. They completely put their faith in God to do whatever God was going to do, even if God’s plan did not include saving them.

Wow.

Do I put my faith only in what God is going to do? Or simply in God Himself? Do I trust God so much that I place myself in His Hands and know that no matter how dark the outcome, He has a reason for it?

That is a different kind of faith than the quote up above. A faith that has allowed Christians in the past to face torture and death. One that allows me now to see beyond my current circumstances. A faith in God alone, not in just the outcome we want from Him.

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3 thoughts on “What is Faith?”

  1. So well put, Morgan. You have explained so elegantly what is difficult to explain: God knows best, trust in Him. His outcome is the right one and that’s why we have unanswered prayers.

  2. Great post, Morgan. As I read the first part and absorbed what that quote was saying, I thought of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednigo, so it was cool to see your thoughts went there too.

    I think the idea that we’re to believe in what God does is exactly what Satan was accused Job of–he only worships You because You bless him. How could that be an accusation if it was the right way of thinking?

    That way of looking at God and His work is false. It’s a lie. And yes, Satan uses it to throw God’s children into the kind of tailspin you described, Morgan.

    People today revel in the “freedom” to be and to express disappointment in God. But that’s the opposite of faith and not something we should aspire to. Faith is saying with Job, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him.”

    Becky

  3. Sometimes confusion arises in this matter of faith and works. There is a radical difference between works or actions that spring from real faith, and works which spring from SELF in an effort to earn God’s approval. The former cannot be separated from real faith. The latter are as filthy rags to God (Isaiah 64:6), and are wrong because the man occupied with them cannot understand or accept God’s free grace – that it is by GRACE, by CHRIST that we are saved, and not by our own works.

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