What is Faith?

I have been thinking about the meaning of faith lately and came across an old post of mine. Here it is and I hope to follow up on more thoughts on the matter next week:

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. Such a good post! Several years ago I heard a Cuban pastor preach and his message was about when our “theology” doesn’t match our experience. Sometimes we cling to cliches or cutesy quotes not realizing they aren’t true or it’s skewers the truth and sets us up for a fall.

  2. Such an important question in our day. So many in Western society confuse positive thinking with faith.

    Habakkuk 3:17-18 is one of my favorite passages of Scripture that show what true faith is:
    “Though the fig tree should not blossom
    And there be no fruit on the vines,
    Though the yield of the olive should fail
    And the fields produce no food,
    Though the flock be cut off from the fold
    And there be no cattle in the stalls,
    Yet I will exult in the LORD,
    I will rejoice in the God of my salvation.”

    Becky

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