As I spoke with a friend the other day, these words came out of my mouth . . .
“I’m leaning hard on my faith.”
I paused and thought. “Man, that puts a lot of pressure on my faith,” which, in a way, puts a lot of pressure on me. I don’t know about you, but my faith waxes and wanes. Not my belief mind you . . . but my faith. When I hear God’s voice and see Him moving, my faith is strong. But when things get dark and dry and God goes silent, my faith gets quiet and distant and weak.
I don’t think this is weird . . . I think it’s human. Every significant Biblical character (except Jesus and John the Baptist) had this happen. Moments of triumphant faith followed by failure and compromise due to weakness of faith.
A lot of people get confused when their faith in God rides on a specific outcome. When that outcome doesn’t happen, they get angry and decide God isn’t for them. Enduring faith must be grounded in the always-good, always-loving God of the universe and can’t be contingent on Him giving us what we want in the short-term.
Hebrews 11:1 contains the traditional Scriptural definition of faith . . .
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”
Thus, faith is a prospective thing. It’s about things hoped for that haven’t yet come into being or view.
On the other hand, trust is the “firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something.” Trust becomes rock-solid through performance over time. Experience. Track record. Trust begins as prospective. The first time someone drove across the Golden Gate Bridge, I’m sure they trusted it but probably had sweaty palms. But after something or someone comes through over and over and over, trust grows strong. Total. Because it’s built on history.
Anti-religion writer Nolan Dolla . . .
“Faith has been called ‘the substance of hope.’ Faith requires no evidence for belief nor practice. The very nature of faith surmises that tangible evidence doesn’t exist. Otherwise, there is a manifestation. On the other hand, trust is based largely on evidence that is real according to the senses and to human reason. Trust is the core conviction of judgment based on knowledge, instinct, and experience.”
My trust in Jesus is a “core conviction of judgment based on knowledge, instinct, and experience.” Stronger than faith. More confident than hope alone. He’s been there with me and for me. He has never failed and never will.
Scripture: Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding (Proverbs 3:5)