When I was growing up in the country there were certain things I experienced that were without a doubt real and easily believable. Take for instance when my dog had confronted a skunk; I smelled the odor and the evidence left no doubt what had taken place. Looking west and seeing the colors as the sunset were just beautiful. Before eating dinner one evening I picked up a pan with food in it and was reminded very quickly, it was hot; didn’t take long to realize it was either.
I remember driving a tractor while helping dad with the crops many years ago. He instructed me to steer the tractor in a certain direction. From my position in the drivers seat I could see the steel drum in front of the tractor but dad could not see it from where he was standing. I didn’t run over the drum but ran against it. How did I know dad was upset? I heard him in no questionable terms. Dad pretty well let his feeling be known in words that are not printable. Once on a vacation trip my granddaughter wanted me to taste one of those jelly bean type candies, I did and it was horrible. She laughed and told me the flavor was earwax and dirt. I certainly had no doubt as to what it tasted like.
I have used the above examples to illustrate the way we identify something. These 5 senses leave little doubt that what we hear, see, smell, taste, and touch are real. But there is something in this life that a lot of people have and it can’t be detected by one of these senses: Faith.
Faith as used in the New Testament is defined as “firm persuasion,” a conviction based upon hearing. We read in the Scriptures things that are true. We cannot determine this by the 5 senses. How do we determine it is true? We read in Romans 10:17, “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.” When read, God’s word produces a firm persuasion and a conviction in our heart based on the Word. For the best definition of Faith notice Hebrews 11:1 says faith is the substance or assurance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. In this verse, which is the only definition of faith revealed in the Scriptures, the root word from which “substance” is translated means “ that which becomes a foundation for another thing to stand on.” In the last part of the verse the root word from which we translate “evidence” signifies a “conviction” in the mind by the substance as hearing reveals it. This faith is the evidence that it is and cannot but be so. We cannot see it, otherwise it would not be faith. As 2 Corinthians 5:7 says, ”We walk by faith and not by sight.” If we could prove by the 5 senses that faith existed then we would be walking by sight and not by faith.
But some have doubts about what the Scriptures reveal. There are certain things I don’t understand and can’t explain other than that is the way God accomplishes His purpose. His thoughts are so far above ours and His ways past finding out. But doubts and not understanding are completely different. One may believe that God raised Jesus from the dead on the 3rd day, and that Jesus was born of the virgin Mary and yet have doubts what God said happened in other instances. My question is “How do you determine which to believe and which to doubt?” We cannot say one miraculous event is believable and another we doubt. Doesn’t this show a lack of faith on our part of believing God accomplishes things in his own way?
Consider when Jesus told Peter to come to him from the boat in Matthew 14:31. Peter walked on the water but when he looked around he started to sink. Jesus extended his hand said, “O you of little faith why did you doubt?” The context of James 1:6-8 certainly applies here. The one doubting is described in verse 7 – 8. Let us accept the fact that there are some things God has done. The way He accomplished his purpose we may not understand. But not understanding and doubting what God says and the way He has done things are totally different. May we pray to understand as we increase our faith and not doubt what is revealed in Scripture.