Posted: 5/26/17 at 9:30am. Column by Ed Jordan.
What would it be like to become stronger in our faith? If we had more faith, perhaps the craziness of our world would not unsettle us as much as it does. Or perhaps with more faith, God would be moving mightily in our lives and thereby eliminating all our frustrations or obstacles.
I suppose much of this question focuses on one’s perspective of what a life blessed by God looks like. What is faith, and what is its purpose and role in our lives?
What does it mean to be blessed by God? Does it mean that you never have difficulties and that everything in your life flows flawlessly? I don’t think so.
David had great faith and defeated lions and a giant; yet his life was filled with sorrows, many of which involved his own decisions or pain from the death of many of his children. So faith does not assure a trouble-free life. Actually, faith grows stronger during tough times.
Faith is rarely exercised in the life of a person who is self-sufficient, whether that self-sufficiency is from wealth, position, power, or giftedness. When we can do it ourselves, we rarely surrender ourselves to God and trust him to carry us through the difficulties as we walk with him in the fires and complications of life.
I wish that the reward of faith was a cushy life, but that is rarely so. Yes, when we get to heaven, there will be no more pain, no more sorrows, and no more difficulties. But in heaven we will live by sight rather than by faith. Meanwhile, this side of heaven, the Bible teaches in Romans 1:17 (NLT) “This Good News tells us how God makes us right in His sight. This is accomplished from start to finish by faith. As the Scriptures say, “It is through faith that a righteous person has life.”
It does not take faith to step out onto solid ground. It takes faith to step into a hot air balloon and believe that it will hold you up. Standing in the basket of a hot-air balloon on the ground is not the same thing as entrusting yourself to the basket’s floor as it soars upward. Faith believes that you will come safely back to land, and if you have ever done that, you know it is rarely a soft landing as the basket bounces and skids across the landscape.
Many people desire to acquire a stronger faith, but few people want to live uncomfortably in order to strengthen their faith.
Faith does not grow in flowers of security. Faith flourishes when we follow God into new places we have reservations about. Faith flourishes when there are only invisible means of support to rely upon.
Few of us want to make decisions that require faith and then behave in peaceful trust knowing that God is in control and will take care of us as we do what He told us to do.
We often desire a giant faith, but we want it available through an instant Faith Dispenser, quickly giving us all of the benefits with none of the sacrifice. It is not faith to expect God to give us the rewards of faith without any of the risks required to exercise such faith. Risk-free scenarios rarely bring opportunities to enlarge and strengthen our faith.
A comment in Streams in the Desert states: “You will never learn faith in comfortable surroundings.” Faith empowers us to sail on in the storm, stating with Paul in Acts 27:25 (ESV): “So take heart, men, for I have faith in God that it will be exactly as I have been told.”
Award-winning columnist Dr. Ed Jordan is pastor of Gwynn’s Island Baptist Church, Gwynn,