Faith can often be a murky topic. What is faith after all? Isn't it just believing in something that you have no tangible proof for? To most people the answer to this question is "yes." I'm not to sure though. Most Christians would pull their definition of faith from the scripture in Hebrews 11:1.
"Now faith is the confidence of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. "
For many people this confirms their suspicions that it's simply belief in something you cannot see. I believe the author of Hebrews had something different in mind. The word "confidence" can also be translated as "trust." So faith is trust. But trust in what? If we are to trust, we must trust something. You trusted your computer would turn on, that the chair you plopped down in would hold you up. What are we to trust in as Christians? I believe it is simply trust in God by way of His promises.
Scripture is full of His promises to us. These things are promises that many of us have found to be true in each of our lives. They are tangible; we can point to instances of them in our lives. For brevity's sake I will speak on only one today, but I encourage you to search out scripture for more.
The Promise of Purpose in Trials
For those of you who thought the Christian life was going to be easy, sorry…. Truth is we live in a broken world. Our lives and the circumstances that befall us our products of that. But even in these times of great sorrow and distress we can have hope because of God's promise of purpose. These promises are found all over the place: Jeremiah 29:11, Romans 8:28, James 1:2-4, 1 Peter 1:6-7, and more. The common threads that unites these scriptures are (1) you will have trials, and (2) God has a purpose for them. This is a sobering truth.
There have been several instances of this fact in my life, but there is one that sticks out. I went to Azusa Pacific University in Southern California for a semester back in 2000. It was made abudantly clear that God wanted me there. God provided affirmation through many people who didn't even know I was looking at APU. While I was there, christcore.net started, I grew into my faith and passion for music–I was supposed to be there. Because this was a private college, my parents paid the bill with the clause, "If you fail any of your classes, you can't go back." Fair enough… However, after being sent home with an F due to a disagreement I had with a professor, I couldn't go back to APU. What was the point of that? It was obvious this was where God wanted me, now I was stuck with little to no direction or idea where I was going. This was a difficult time for me. I was upset, depressed and confused.
Around this time our church got a new youth pastor who, as every new youth pastor should do, asked the college student who just returned to be a volunteer in the youth ministry. I figured, "Sure, why not, nothing better to do now." From the moment I started volunteering, God started changing my heart. I never desired to be in ministry, I never wanted to reach out to teens, but now I am the youth pastor at that same church. God brought me through all of that mess, and by sticking with Him, I now have a youth ministry seven years running and an understanding of His working out of all things for good.
Search the scriptures, seek out the promises God has for you, hold on to these things and act on them. James 2:17 says that "faith (trust) without action is dead (useless)." It is good to believe that God's promises are true, but ask yourself this question: Am I acting as if they were?? If the answer is no, there is no better day than today to change that.