Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. (Hebrews 11:1)
Believing is the basis of everything a Christian does. It is with faith like that of a child that we are encouraged to come to Christ (Luke 18:17). It is faith that gives Abraham the courage to follow God’s commands to the point of almost sacrificing the very child God had promised him, a faith that is credited to Abraham as righteousness (Genesis 15:6). It is faith that allows Joseph to see his exile in Egypt as a positive thing. He tells his brothers:
You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives (Genesis 50:20).
Faith guides Peter to found Christ’s church, sees Paul through more than one perilous mission trip and long periods of imprisonment, gives Ruth the courage to follow her mother-in-law, heals the woman who touches the edge of Jesus’ garment with her fingertips. Throughout God’s word, we are provided with examples of faith-based responses to the best moments and the worst moments in a person’s life.
So, even though I know all this, why do I still worry? I don’t have an answer for that, except maybe the same prayer as the father of the demon-possessed boy, who cried out, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief” (Mark 9:24).
In a media-driven world, we have plenty of heroes, usually action stars like Indiana Jones or Rocky or Captain America. These men usually hold in their emotions, are good in a fight, and ultimately win. But most of them are not heroes of faith. In fact, most profess a faith in nothing except themselves, the individualism that marks American culture.
However, in the last few weeks, I’ve been struck by the heroes of faith in the Old Testament like Abraham and Joseph. When I read how Joseph had such conviction that the events of his life were worked to the good by God, I found a new hero. I thought to myself, what kind of power would I give to my life if I started seeing it in light of the same kind of conviction? Wouldn’t I worry less if I kept reminding myself that God will work to the good everything in my life, maybe even especially the challenges?
Courage that can face the good and the bad in life with perfect peace is the kind of courage that means true heroism. Read the rest of Hebrews 11 for a list of other heroes of faith. Shining the light of Jesus starts with the first bold step of faith. And if you don’t think you have it, all you need do is ask:
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30)