Faith is tricky. By definition, faith doesn’t make sense. Hebrews 11:1 tells us that faith is “the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen”. It doesn’t make sense to put your faith, your security, your trust in something or someone whom you cannot see and that you only hope is there. And yet, faith is the currency of heaven. Faith is what makes your life firm.
As I get older, I appreciate the disciple Thomas more and more. Here’s a guy who traveled with Jesus daily and knew Him well. Thomas saw the miracles and heard the teachings straight from Jesus. He was an eye witness and yet, when faced with the opportunity to have faith, Thomas couldn’t muster it up.
Picture this: It’s been a wild weekend for Thomas and the other followers of Jesus. They are terrified and in crisis. Jesus has been killed and they have every reason to believe they are on the executioners list as well. Everyone is gathered together and I’m sure that the slightest noise makes the room jump. The windows are shut tight and the door bolted shut. No one is coming in or going out and no one has for three days. The fear was palpable.
Then Jesus shows up. Wait, what? Jesus is dead! The door hasn’t been opened! No window is cracked and yet, Jesus appears in the midst of the huddled group living in terror and confusion. He just appears with them and they are dumbfounded I have no doubt. He speaks peace over them and they are forever changed. Our dear Thomas, however, has been off hiding somewhere else and he doesn’t have this encounter as the other disciples do.
Can you imagine how Thomas felt when he comes home and his friends tell them what has happened? Here they have had this amazing encounter with the crucified and resurrected Christ and he missed it. Common sense takes control and Thomas refuses to believe their story. Common sense says it isn’t possible that Jesus is alive. Common sense is the enemy of faith. Thomas declares that until he is actually able to touch the scars of Jesus, he will never believe He is back.
Several days later, Thomas and the gang are still locked up in the room, uncertain of their future. Going out into the town is still believed risky as the talk of Jesus’ body missing, possibly stolen or possibly resurrected, is I’m sure the top news story of the week. Jesus, in His amazing power, again just shows up in the midst of the fear. This time our dear Thomas is in the room and he sees his Friend, his Savior for the first time since His death.
Jesus has a couple options here when He sees Thomas. He could chastise Thomas for not believing the others when they had said they saw Jesus. He could make Thomas feel ashamed about not trusting. As He always does, Jesus chooses to love and not to shame him. Jesus knows Thomas is having a crisis of faith so without hesitation, He shows Thomas exactly what he needs in order to have faith, His scars. Thomas, I’m sure, falls apart. He then declares his belief in what he has hoped for, he declares his faith.
Aren’t we all so much like Thomas? Faith requires that you believe the impossible is possible, and that often goes against what many call common sense. That there is nothing God can’t do. Nothing! That not only can God save you from an eternity without Him, He can also provide for all of your needs, all of your healing, all of your love. Without faith, you have no footing.
If you are not firm in your faith, when storms come you get bashed about. Fear, doubt, negativism all reign when we don’t stand firm in faith. Faith is hard. Faith is mocked. Faith is a choice, not a feeling. When we choose to believe God can heal when the doctors say it is hopeless, we choose faith. When we choose to believe that our wayward child will return home, we choose faith. When we choose to believe that our marriage can be saved, we choose faith. Faith is what makes our lives able to be lived without falling apart. Faith makes us firm in God.
Faith isn’t a magic potion though. Faith doesn’t mean things will work out just like we want them to. Faith simply means that we are trusting the One who orchestrates it all and loves us more than we can imagine. Faith is believing that God is with us and empowering us to face the challenge ahead knowing that He is in control. Faith is firmness.