Summary: It's often easier for Christians to have faith in the big, amazing things God does than it is to have faith that he is acting in small ways in our lives every day.
“To have faith is to be sure of the things we hope for, to be certain of the things we cannot see.”
Most Christians are familiar with some version of this verse. It’s been used as a definition for faith even in the secular world. It’s something we say to people to give them comfort, reassurance, and hope.
But I don’t think this definition of faith is comforting at all. In fact, I think it’s challenging.
“To have faith is to be SURE of the things we hope for…to be CERTAIN of the things we cannot see.”
To be SURE.
To be CERTAIN.
These are absolutes…no gray areas in this definition of faith. Faith is knowing, 100%, that what you believe is true. And that can be challenging at times.
By definition, Christians believe, or have faith in, some pretty unbelievable concepts.
- Christians believe that there is a God – a supernatural, omniscient being who created us and has the power to control our world.
- Christians believe that God has a son, Jesus, whose mother was human, and also a virgin.
- Christians believe that Jesus died and then rose from the dead – completely whole.
- Christians believe that in this resurrection, somehow, our sins are forgiven.
Now if you ask any Christian if they believe these things, they’ll probably say yes without hesitating. If you ask them if they KNOW these things to be true, without doubt, many will still say yes.This might lead us to believe that faith in God is easy. If we can believe wholeheartedly in these really unbelievable ideas, it can’t be that hard to have faith. So where, you may ask, is the challenge?
Oddly enough, the challenge may be in having faith that God takes care of the small, everyday things.
I recently lost my keys. To be honest, I lose my keys twice a week. I did the usual rounds of asking myself “Did I have them when I was in the kitchen? Did I have them when I was in the bedroom?” When I couldn’t remember, I did the retracing my steps from the car routine two or three times. Now normally, when retracing my steps doesn’t work, I get frantic and just start tearing up the house. But the other day, when I lost my keys, I did something I don’t usually do when I lose things. I prayed. I sat right down on the sofa and said – “Ok, God, I really need to find those keys now. I know I’ve been irresponsible in dealing with them, but I also know that you can help me find them if I ask. So I’m asking you now, please help me find my keys.”
Then I decided to retrace my steps another time. So I got up and walked out to the car. There, on the ground, right in my path to the car, were my keys.
I must have walked right over them several times while I was looking for them and never saw them. But for some reason, I saw them after I prayed.
Losing those keys gave me the opportunity for a revelation. Right now, I can tell you with no doubt whatsoever, God helped me find those keys. Whether he moved them where I’d see them, or inspired me to look down at the right time, I have no idea. I don’t try to pretend I know how God works. But I do know he helped me.
Which begs the question – why didn’t I ask for his help the other 200 times I lost my keys?
And the simple answer to that is because, frankly, I didn’t believe it would do me any good.
I can believe that there’s an invisible sky being who controls the world, impregnates virgins, and sends his son to die for me, but I can’t believe this all-powerful being can find my car keys. What kind of faith is that?
It’s imperfect faith. The kind of faith we all have.
The funny thing is, we don’t even need to have very strong faith to have faith that God takes care of the little things, because we have an awful lot of evidence to prove that he does.
Take our health, for example. Yes, most of us have no trouble praying that Aunt Sally’s surgery will be successful or that Bob’s cancer goes into remission, but how often do we take the time to pray for our own day-to-day health? Do we really believe that God would be bothered to ease the pain of our tension headache, or calm our acid reflux after a bad day at work? If we don’t, we should. Because He does it without us even ASKING much of the time.
In a 2008 research paper, Dr. Harold Koenig, a professor of psychology and behavioral sciences at Duke University presented evidence that religious involvement and spiritual activities are associated with a whole host of health benefits, including: