Moments in the life of a Pastor

Walking with God

29 The facts of faith

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Hebrews 11:1-3

1 Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. 2 This is what the ancients were commended for. 3 By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.

We are visual people and our sight is fundamental to how we live. If we were dogs we would rely on our sense of smell to see the world. Bats are aural creatures; it’s through their ears that they understand and see their surroundings. How you see the world will dictate how you will live in it. Helen Keller who became blind and deaf before she was 2 once said “The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision” Sight is a wonderful thing and yet according to God’s Word it is not the primary gift that gets us where we need to go. As Hebrews 11 recounts the fathers of our faith we see that might is not found in sight, rather our security and foundation is in faith. It is faith that provides the fortitude to move forward, sight actually slows us down. Faith is not a nicety to life it is a necessity for life, for when we see only with our eye we miss out on hope. As Christians we are called to see and understand the world not with our eyes but with our hearts. When we see with our hearts we look beyond the forces we perceive to focus on the person who gives meaning to it all. God wants us to see not with but through the eye and that requires faith. The author of Hebrews makes some pertinent points about how we see. We get so caught up in looking for evidence for faith, that we forget that faith does not require evidence it is the evidence because it is the very essence of our hope. One of the developmental stages that a baby goes through is something that psychologists call “object permanence.” I will never forget that moment when I hid a small toy in my hand behind my back and my first born looked at me and then crawled behind me to find the hidden toy. Up until that moment he had always assumed it had ceased to exist. When a very tiny baby plays peek-a-boo as they cover their eyes, they literally think you aren’t there but as they get older they realize that out of sight doesn’t necessarily mean out of mind. The fact that an object has permanence even beyond their perception is called “object permanence.” When Hebrews talks about the assurance of what we do not see, there is a call for a form of spiritual object permanence. I don’t totally know why God chooses not to reveal himself through our eyes, but I do know that he is calling us to grow up spiritually, to learn to trust that he is still there, and still in charge, even if we can’t see him with our eyes. Hebrews 1:3 gives us both a starting point and an example of where this kind of sight is necessary, “in the beginning”. Back when this was written few would have questioned that God made the universe but today we do. We live in a culture where creationism is controversial and often contentious and where scientists have taught us a different creation story. It is a story that involves sight in which one presumes that because you cannot see God, he isn’t there. It is a belief in a mechanical universe governed by rules and laws that are inviolable. It is a universe without mercy, molded by exploding stars and advanced in amino acid soups, where we arrive at miraculously life through trial and error.  This is creation as a result of chance where human beings are the problem not the pinnacle of creation. Yes I do think that it is important to talk about creation but I will say that I doubt whether God is going to ask you your opinion on the subject, because quite frankly there are other questions He is more interested in, like “did you love my son?” You might be surprised when I say that scientists call us to believe because you, like me, were taught that scientists only rely on observation. The scientific method, after all, is observation and experiment, yet scientists call us to believe a great number of things we can’t see while they claim to rely on reason. Ultimately both evolutionism and creationism force you to have faith in something; one calls you to faith in a process the other in a person and I know which one can forgive my sins. While Hebrews 11:1 gets all the press it is 11:3 that underscores the point. It is through faith that we understand that the universe was framed by the Word of God. When you read creation myths from other cultures they all speak about the universe being formed out of some pre-existent material. The bible says that God just spoke it, His spoken word is the source and substance of life. Evolution removes God and replaces Him with a force, the beginning starts with a bang not the boom of God’s voice. They try very hard not to have a concept of God, but the truth is they are presuming that there is none. It would be like trying to ask what the world looked like if there was no color, you must take a stand on God’s role in the world, and what your stand is will literally color everything you see. I find the faith that scientists place in their tools to be amazing, the truth is that they are just observers like you and me. They can see with their machines, but no machine can ever see with the heart. Tools have a purpose they understand physical interactions, that’s what they are designed to do. When they become objects of worship, we lose sight of the fact that they only tell us about the physical forces, so it is no wonder that they never detect the person behind the forces. Today our culture is enamored with the scientific model, we think if our science can’t detect it, it must not exist. But as good as the scientific model is there are other ways of understanding the world. If you don’t believe me try marriage using the scientific model. In truth, good application of the scientific method gives you better predictions and possibilities, but we are blessed, we have a hope that does not change. That hope of science pales in comparison to the hope of a Savior, for it does not love, forgive or save. Our God is not some impersonal force leaving us at the whim of rules He set, He loves us. Especially when you truly come to understand that our creator chose to be crucified for us. His love is amazing, and it is only though faith that we can see that. Creation was the result of a command not coincidence. Our security is not in our sight but our Savior so today enjoy the special gift of sight but focus with your faith.

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