Do you ever begin thinking about faith and immediately feel guilty?  You wish you could muster the mustard seed of faith that Jesus mentions?  If my faith was sitting on one end of a seesaw and you dropped the mustard seed on the other side, sometimes my faith would go flying into the air.  It’s so light and insubstantial. 

How about this verse?  “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” (Hebrews 11:1 NIV)  From Jump Street, you can choose to look at this verse as discouraging.  Thanks, that sounds like a tall order.  Being sure or certain of things I hope for and especially things I don’t see is above my spiritual pay grade.

First, let’s consider what I will call functional faith.  Have you recently put a glass under the faucet and taken a drink.  Unless your like my engineer friend Greg, you didn’t take your water testing kit and determine the make up of your H2O.  With me so far?   I recently got on two planes to get me from LR to LA.  Two hundred of my acquaintances did too.  We believe this metal bird someone made could fly us across the continent.  We trust there was an unseen pilot up front who knew what to do and where to go and could perform all the subtle course corrections it would take to get us to the place we were hoping for but was still unseen.  But sometimes there’s a boil order, and your water isn’t safe.  Sometimes, sadly, planes don’t arrive at their destinations.  Yet we exercise a functional faith in hundreds of things each day.

So what’s the difference?  God, through his word, asks us to put our faith in the faithful.  He says trust in the trustworthy, and that’s him.  “Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commands. But those who hate him he will repay to their face by destruction; he will not be slow to repay to their face those who hate him.” (Deuteronomy 7:9-10 NIV)  Do you hear it?  He’s the faithful one.  For better, if you love him, or worse, if you hate him, he is going to do exactly what he said he would do.  He is faithful.  If you were wondering, I recommend the covenant of love. 

Back to Hebrews 11:1.  This verse says trust there’s a pilot.  He knows where he’s going.  He’s a faithful pilot.  The rest of chapter 11 goes on to talk about other passengers who by faith got to a city only the pilot knew well.

Recently, I feel God has been taking me to new places by faith.  I plan to share with you some of the things I’m learning.  A few more things that are helping me hold my own against the mustard seed on the other end of the seesaw.  Consider the words “sure” and “certain” from the verse above.  The New Revised Standard Bible translates the Greek words “assured” and “conviction.”  The New King James translates “substance” and “evidence.”

I am finding encouragement to trust the pilot from all these words. 

Sure: I’ve seen planes take off and land, I’m sure it will work. 

Assured:  I’m reminded that God isn’t passive.  He’s active in assuring me of what’s hoped for.

Substance:  What a great word?  This is something solid.  What’s hoped for will, at times, be able to be touched.  The rest of the Bible assures me that, some day, it won’t be hope it will be reality.

Certain: Even though I don’t see God, I am convinced his loving hand is working for my good.

Conviction:  This word invites me to do something with this trust.  If it’s a conviction I back up my faith with doing something.

Evidence:  This word reminds me of all the stories I read in Hebrews chapter 11.  It causes me to want to find the rest of their story in the other parts of the Bible and figure out what their faith looked, sounded, felt and even smelled like, so I can imitate it.

Jim Martin over at A Place for the God Hungry recently wrote about five different approaches to prayer.  I felt he was in my head on some of the points he was making, especially the questions.  You can read his post and my response here.

As you’re thinking about your faith, ask yourself this question:

“What impossible thing do I never pray for because I’m afraid of failure?”  Let’s discuss.