Faith, when seen up close for the first time can look completely different than what we imagined it to look like. The image of real faith in action is what we need to dislodge our misconceptions of what faith is and shake us into the realization of what real, practical, biblical faith is.
I love the National Geographic channel. I could watch the various programs on NG for hours. My mammal of choice is the whale. From the time I was a child I’ve been fascinated with whales. I remember watching Jacques Cousteau on Sunday nights and dreaming of being on the boat with the divers and seeing these amazing animals up close.
As an adult my fascination with whales remains and I’m usually front and center at the TV when NG broadcasts anything that has to do with whales.
About 2 months ago, the family and I were down in San Pedro on the beach just hanging out enjoying a Saturday afternoon together when all of a sudden, approx 100 yards off the coast 3-4 whales swam by on their migration up the coast. I was completely awe struck. Even now I struggle to put into words what seeing these amazing creatures was like. Friends who have gone on whale watching excursions have tried to describe what the experience of whale watching is like, but seeing these massive creatures defies description.
Sometimes true faith can look completely different when held up against our perception of what faith looks like.
Often times we read books, we hear witness accounts, we watch TV and we develop mental images of what certain experiences must look and feel like, but when we actually have a close encounter with that which we have only heard about, it neither looks nor feels how we thought it would. In Mark 4:35-41 after a long day of teaching, Jesus and His disciples got into a boat and Jesus said, “Let us go over to the other side“. But before they reached the other side, a storm engulfed the boat. Jesus was asleep below deck on a pillow. The disciples woke Him up and asked Him if He cared that they were going to die. Jesus got up, rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace be still” and there was a great calm.
The part of the above story I’d like to focus on is the image of what faith looked like in the minds of the disciples. These men travelled with Jesus. They saw firsthand how Jesus lived daily. But even so, the image they had in their minds of faith was different than what true faith actually looked like. In this instance, true faith carried images of the disciples reaching the other side safely. If they were carrying the same faith in their hearts that Jesus had in His, there would not have been a need to wake Him in fear of dying. In fact, they probably would have been asleep as well.
Sometimes true faith can look completely different when held up against our perception of what faith looks like. In the story above, it looked foolish to be asleep in the bottom of a boat in the middle of a storm. But in actuality, God’s Word was involved so the most practical thing to do was to get some rest. Why? Because they were going to the other side. How could they be assured they would get there safely? Because Jesus said so. Jesus has never, and will never say anything that will not come to pass.
Does what you know about faith measure up to the God Kind of Faith?
So pay no mind to those who may look at you strangely or to those who may question your lack of concern over seemingly serious matters. They may have read about faith, they may have heard about faith, but they may never have seen what real faith looks like. Resist the temptation to “conform” and show fear, anxiety, and doubt because that’s the way “normal” people would act under the circumstances. Be strong in the Lord and lean entirely on His Word, knowing in your heart that His Word will never let you down.
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