Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. 2 For by it the people of old received their commendation. 3 By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible. . . 6 And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. (ESV)
This assurance, this conviction must be based on who God is. What I think I need, what I want, is based on my perspective, which is notoriously self-focused. God alone is sovereign and omniscient — He who created the universe knows what is for my best.
Why the title of “risky faith?” What will you do if the answer is “no?” What if life looks dramatically different from what you expected? What if current circumstances do not make sense? What if “why?” does not receive a clear answer?
Biblical faith draws near to God, and believes His character is unchanging. The God who “rewarded” you with a special blessing or good health or the extra check in the mail is the same God now, when the check doesn’t come, or the doctor visit is not “good news” or the job is lost or the relationship is fractured. Biblical faith is the assurance that God is for me. Biblical faith is the conviction that though I cannot see it, God is always at work for my good and His glory.
God is the same today, as He was when He told Abram long ago, “I am your shield, and your great reward” (Genesis 15)
Psalm 119:81-88 ESV –
81 [Kaph] My soul longs for your salvation; I hope in your word.
82 My eyes long for your promise; I ask, “When will you comfort me?”
83 For I have become like a wineskin in the smoke, yet I have not forgotten your statutes.
84 How long must your servant endure? When will you judge those who persecute me?
85 The insolent have dug pitfalls for me; they do not live according to your law.
86 All your commandments are sure; they persecute me with falsehood; help me!
87 They have almost made an end of me on earth, but I have not forsaken your precepts.
88 In your steadfast love give me life, that I may keep the testimonies of your mouth.
Some days are easier than others. There. I spoke it out loud. Some days I feel lonely. useless. misunderstood. misused. dismissed. tired. pain-ridden. foggy-brained. . . (feel free to add your own modifiers)
When I am having one of those “what’s the point?” days (and, yes, there have been
many more than one, over the years) I am even more grateful than usual for God’s Word planted (stored) in my heart. God’s truth must have more credibility than my feelings. That even sounds strange to say — “of course, God’s Word is true!” but, be honest — what has more impact on your mood, your identity, your behavior: your feelings, or God’s Word?
Feelings come and go. Seriously. Some days I feel useful. content. hopeful. significant . . .(feel free to add your own modifier). Is God’s Word more true on those days? No. “Forever, O Lord, Your Word is firmly fixed in the heavens . . ” (Psalm 119:89). There is no substitute for memorizing/meditating on God’s Word. Otherwise, I am prone to believe my feelings. And my feelings change. But . . .
Psalm 102:25-27 ESV –
25 Of old you [God] laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands.
26 They will perish, but you will remain; they will all wear out like a garment. You will change them like a robe, and they will pass away,
27 but you are the same, and your years have no end.
By the way, if Psalm 119 intrigues you, Sweeter Than Chocolate: an Inductive Study of Psalm 119, by Pam Gillaspie is an excellent “digging deeper” into this psalm. There will be an online, live discussion of this 8 week study, beginning June 13. Beloved Truth Psalm 119 study. You can purchase the workbook here Amazon or here Precept Ministries
If your schedule doesn’t allow for a weekly commitment, Pam Gillaspie is also offering her study on her website in a flexible format. You can sign up here https://pamgillaspie.com/
Having God’s Word in my heart is the only way that I can survive the “wineskin in the smoke” days . . .