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Thursday, November 15, 2012


Faith = the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
(from Hebrews 11:1, emphasis mine)

Such an interesting definition! Faith isn’t an I-hope-so or an I-wish kind of thing. It’s sure. It’s substance. It’s evidence! It’s knowing what you can’t actually see.

Let’s read the two verses that follow this definition of faith:
For by it the elders obtained a good report. Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear (Heb. 11:2-3).

I’m reminded of an excursion with a blind friend named Lela. She and her husband accompanied our family to the historical church, St. John’s, in Richmond, Virginia. (It’s where Patrick Henry gave his famous, emotional “Give me liberty, or give me death” speech.) The guide was describing a beautiful low pulpit in the front of the church, carved like an eagle with its wings outspread. Lela wanted to “see” it. We waited until others had moved on, and walked up to the front where the guide graciously let Lela run her fingers over the carved pulpit. Lela’s face lit up, and she exclaimed, “It’s beautiful!”

During the guide’s introduction, Lela had understood the beautiful pulpit’s existence. She couldn’t see it in front of her, but she knew it was there. She hoped to examine it for herself, but she trusted it was real. That’s like faith.

God reveals Himself through His Word. We know in our hearts it is true. When we actually reach out and touch God spiritually, through faith in His Son, it’s like Lela’s “seeing” that intricately carved pulpit. It’s the substance and evidence of things not seen. It’s beautiful!

Later in this same chapter, Hebrews 11, we read about the heroes of the faith, those who believed God, even though they hadn’t yet experienced the completion of the promise. They believed, through faith. They knew through faith. Like Lela, they touched and saw, without really seeing . . .

For now we see through a glass, darkly;
but then face to face:
now I know in part;
but then shall I know even as also I am known.
And now abideth faith . . . .
(1 Corinthians 13:12-13)

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