“…we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:18
At Kim’s funeral, I read excerpts from Proverbs 31 and made a few comments about her. Then, I ended my comments by saying “…By faith and not by sight, I trust you.” Early on, I understood sight was not my friend, and it would take intentionality to hang on by faith.
“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1
Faith versus sight really is the pivotal point of our battle—in tough times but even in good times. Faith versus sight is ground zero for our battle every day and in every other circumstance. But during unspeakable loss, sight tends to push hard upon faith. It’s a moment-by-moment fracas with casualties.
Our job is to stay doggedly on point. Ours is not to control or even ask why really. However, he’s big enough for any question, even why. Our duty, though, is to stay at the task of embracing everything in faith.
“But what does it say? ‘The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart’ (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim)…” Romans 10:8
In their song, “He Will Hold Me Fast,” Keith and Kristyn Getty sing, “When I fear my faith will fail, Christ will hold me fast.” So, even our ability to have faith depends upon him. I’ve cried out Mark 9:24 with the father of the demon-possessed boy. The disciples had been unable to liberate the boy. The father presses and brings his case to Jesus. Jesus tells the man to have faith. I love the father’s reply to Jesus: “Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, ‘I believe; help my unbelief!’” I understand that father’s heart. I’ve cried the same thing and sometimes it only comes out in moans.
In the confusion of sight, we need clarity of faith. And faith is not of our own doing.
“For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.” Romans 12:3
Faith is a gift assigned to me by God himself. That’s a mystery. My faith is not a matter for pride. I’m not to think highly of myself. I’m to employ sober assessment knowing that my measure of faith is a gift from God.
“So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” Romans 10:17
Whether we believe in faith or not has no bearing on the truth whatsoever. Our decision bears only on our relationship to the truth and to the One who is Truth. God is on his throne whether we believe it or not.
It’s true, he takes bad and makes good out of it. There is a resurrection. It’s true also that Jesus is Lord. He reveals these things to those he can trust. But the truth remains for all of us whether we embrace the truth or not.
“We have to pray with our eyes on God, not on the difficulties.” Oswald Chambers, Prayer: A Holy Occupation
The question for any of us in good times or bad times is: Am I hearing the Word of Christ so that I have faith that comes from hearing?
In the confusion of sight, it’s imperative to hold fast to the clarity—the firm foundation—of faith.
“The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.” Deuteronomy 29:29