I like to think of faith like a muscle. Like muscles, everyone has faith, but the size of our faith depends on how we partner with God to see it stewarded and developed. Hebrews 12:2 tells us that God is the “author and finisher” of our faith. If we cooperate with His work in our lives, He will complete our faith.
As we walk and partner with God, He is writing a unique faith story through each of our lives. We know faith is very important to God because Hebrew 11:6 says, “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”
These words in Hebrews 11 use to bring me to tears because I felt like a colossal failure at faith. But, even in my failures where fear and unbelief overshadowed my ability to trust, God relentlessly wrote my faith story, miraculously weaving the plot to redeem what I could not redeem myself.
Along this journey, I learned a couple of keys that set me up to move in faith even in the toughest of situations. Several times, when I was at a very low point the Lord brought me to these probing words of Isaiah:
“Why do you complain, Jacob? Why do you say, Israel, ‘My way is hidden from the LORD; my cause is disregarded by my God’? Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.” (Isa. 40:27-28)
God challenges Jacob and Israel with the question, “Why do you say my way is hidden from the Lord or my cause disregarded by my God?”
Isn’t this the place where the very substance of our faith is tested? God puts His finger on the questions that most of us have asked at one point or another. Do we believe God sees, and do we believe God knows and cares?
We have moved a step away from faith when we feel our way is hidden from Him or our cause disregarded. But, thankfully God gives us two powerful keys hidden in the next eight words that have the power to unlock and open the door into greater faith and trust.
In verses 28, God says, “Do you not know? Have you not heard? Putting these questions in today’s vernacular might sound something like, “What do you know? and “What have you heard?”
I want to take a closer look at each of these two keys:
1. What do you know?
When we experience a crisis of faith, this is the first question we need to ask ourselves. What do I know? What do I know of God’s character? Has He shown Himself faithful to me in the past? What does the written word of God speak concerning God and my situation?
We see David visit this question over and over throughout the Psalms he penned. David would pour out his heart to God, then come back to this place of recounting what He knew to be true about God. It was a lifestyle for him and possibly the greatest secret of His success.
We are told to do something very similar by Paul in his letter to the Philippians. Philippians 4: 8-9 says, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you."
When we recount what we know to be true, and when we train our thoughts to go that direction, the result is peace, and ultimately a strengthening of our faith occurs.
2. What have you heard?
Romans 10:17 tells us “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Our faith has to rest in something. Our faith rests not only in what we know to be true, but also in what we have heard God say.
When I am walking through difficult circumstances, hearing what God is saying is my lifeline. When we have the word of the Lord, we have what we need to do battle. When your faith is challenged and it looks as if nothing is going your way, the word of the Lord is your sword. That is how we fight the good fight of faith that I Timothy talks about. We hold up our sword, or the word that God has spoken and God will honor His word. His word never returns to Him void, but will always accomplish what He spoke it forth to do.
As we continue to watch 2018 unfold, I encourage you to strengthen your faith muscles. Purpose to focus on what you know to be true, and then press in to hear what God is saying to you about your circumstances. He has provided the keys for you to live an exciting life of faith.