What exactly is faith? Faith is defined as the act of believing in that which we cannot see. If that is true then we can say, with confidence, that trusting God involves training ourselves to see beyond what we can only see and to see and understand that which we believe; but what about the things in which we don’t believe or things we have never considered? 2Kings 6:17 tells us about how Elisha prayed that his servant could see beyond his own understanding to envision what Elisha, the servant of God, prophetically envisioned. Life principle number nine, from InTouch Ministries states: “Trusting God means looking beyond what we can see to what God sees”. OK, but if we can all see the future, like God, why would sin even exist? Wouldn’t we already know the right way to respond to life circumstances? Not necessarily, and why? Well, we don’t teach ourselves to understand how God thinks, so most of the time we can’t see what He sees. Reading the Old Testament stories can give us examples as to how God works in our lives, how He responds to disobedience and how He rewards us for living within His plan and purpose for our lives. But we can also augment that with listening to stories of our elders – parents and grandparents, pastors, teachers, even the old guy down at the mini mart.
I can remember a weekend, the last weekend my grandfather lived. It was a bit cold in the very early spring in southern Pennsylvania. We packed up and drove to our little tiny vacation place because we needed to tend to a tree which had bent over from the weight of a recent snow and it was sticking out into the path of the highway traffic a bit and had to be cut. After a hard day of cutting, hauling and burning pine branches, we washed up in the tiny bathroom and had hoagies for supper. Then I remember my father and my grandfather sharing their memories together as I sat and listened. They talked and laughed for hours, recalling events from their pasts and sometimes the consequences resulting from what they had done. I probably learned more that evening, as this father and son drank Kentucky whisky and reflected on their lives, than I could have ever learned on my own.
Reading the old testament and the great stories of old, for me, is just like listening to the old stories of my father’s and grandfather’s past, and learning about how to react in circumstances that may or may never enter my life. And because of those lessons, now I can say for certain that if we can understand how God thinks, even just the tiniest bit, we can greatly improve the way we respond to those circumstances, whenever they may occur. I challenge you to try it for yourself. Pick up your Bible and read some of the wonderous stories of kings and slaves and both men and women of great courage and valor. Remember those stories and when those same types of circumstances pop up in your life, I just know that you’ll know better how to react.
(also see What is Faith?)