“To have faith is to be sure of the things we hope for, to be certain of the things we cannot see.”
I believe in God’s unseen promises.
Chapter 11 in the book of Hebrews is often referred to as the chapter on faith. It gives us many examples of faith through the ages. From Abel to Noah, Moses to Joseph, this chapter is meant as a source of inspiration, showing us how to have faith and trust in God. But while some of those in the examples throughout Hebrews did not live to see God’s promises come to fruition, it is their belief in the unseen that we are to learn from.
The Old Testament heroes lived their lives faithfully serving God. They wanted to please God, not because they could see Him, but because they believed in the unseen God. Their faith sometimes included great sacrifice to themselves and their families. Noah built an arc in the middle of a drought. Moses had to confront Pharaoh and his adoptive family in the palace to lead the Israelites out of Egypt into the desert. Sometimes these heroes were rewarded with tangible results (Joseph became the second most powerful man in Egypt), strengthening their faith even more.
The first verse in Hebrews chapter 11, is the very basic definition of faith. To have faith is to believe in that which you cannot see. To have a deep knowing without questioning. Joyce Meyer often explains her faith in this way: we can’t see electricity, but we know it exists. God doesn’t have to prove to me that He exists. I know He does. I believe in the unseen. I have a deep knowing without questioning.
But having faith doesn’t only mean believing in what is unseen, it also means having hope in what is yet to come. So it can be said that we can see our future by having faith.
Our belief that God will give us what we hope and pray for is an aspect of having and practicing our faith. We also need to believe that God will only give us what He knows we need. Not everything that we want. If we don’t get what we had hoped for, we need to continue believing that it is because God has something better already on the way.
I’m pretty sure Noah didn’t hope to be the guy everyone ridiculed because he was building an arc. But Noah’s faith saved his family. Abraham and Sarah prayed for years that they would be blessed with children. It might not have happened when they wanted it to, but their faith allowed them to conceive a child well past their childbearing years. And “from this one man came as many descendants as there are stars in the sky” – Hebrews 11:12. Daniel survived a night in the lion’s den. Gideon faced a vast army of Midianites with only 300 men.
There are many such instances in the Bible of God’s people practicing their faith. Some were rewarded with what they asked for, and others didn’t, but they received something even better. What unseen things are you certain about?