What is faith?

Jesus’ faith held to some absolute certainties.

Jesus looked up to heaven and said, “Father, thank you for hearing me. You always hear me, …”

John 11:41-42

This does not mean Jesus always got what he wanted.

Jesus left that place and went to the vicinity of Tyre.  He entered a house and did not want anyone to know it; yet he could not keep his presence secret. 

Mark 7:24

The work of faith is less about getting what we want, and more about how we behave when we don’t.

Then he took [the disciples] with him and they withdrew by themselves … but the crowds learned about it and followed him. He welcomed them ..

Luke 9:10-11

Faith runs the race the Father sets out for us with love. Faith runs in hope that the one who sets the course gives grace for the challenges and unexpected interventions for the impossible.

let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Hebrews 12:1-2

In this strange world our only hope is Jesus. Let us fix our eyes on him and run the course he has set for us!

Photo by frank mckenna on Unsplash

Character training

Why does the Lord leave salvation to the last minute? It seems we live in frustration. Then suddenly all is turned around. What we don’t appreciate is that the time of frustration is valuable.

 Until the time came to fulfill his dreams, the Lord tested Joseph’s character. (Psa 105v19 NLT)

The Lord had his plans, but the plan for Joseph seemed to have failed; he had received dreams of glory that now looked impossible because-

Joseph, who was sold as a slave. (v17)

Joseph responded not by giving up in depression but by serving wholeheartedly. He did not know it, but in doing this he was being trained by God in character. This continued right up until Joseph was taken directly, with no warning, no space for preparation, from prison to the throne room.

Then Pharaoh sent for him and set him free; the ruler of the nation opened his prison door. Joseph was put in charge of all the king’s household; he became ruler over all the king’s possessions. (v20-21)

The Lord was going to fulfil his promise, but how would Joseph respond to training? He could have lived in the past, lived in bitterness, decided to just do the minimum, … Such failures would have compromised many of the Lord’s intentions for the future.

The challenge for us is to embrace the circumstances God has put us in and serve in love. We learn character and dependence on his grace through serving wholeheartedly, especially when it is unrelated to God’s declared purpose.