Which Way Lord – Chapter 9 – By Dr Chandrakumar
Faith Is Seeing The Unseen
God can move mountains. But we can move God himself! Faith is the means to move God.
Faith is trusting God for something to happen which we have not seen or experienced before. It is different from belief. We believe some thing that is already known to us. I don’t need faith to believe that I am wearing a wristwatch. Belief is past tense and faith is future tense. St. Augustine said, “Faith is to believe what we do not see, and the reward of this faith is to see what we believe.”
Faith is also construed as trust. The dominant modern tendency is to widen the distinction between faith as belief and faith as trust. Some one said, faith as belief is the Martha of Christian existence, and faith as trust is the Mary (Lk. 10:38-42). In the classical traditions, the content of belief (truths) as well as the ability to believe were held to be God’s gifts; so also for faith as trust.
1. Faith Is Seeing The Unseen
In Berkeley’s translation we read in Hebrews 11:1, that, “Faith is the conviction of unseen realities.” By faith Noah being warned by God about things not yet seen, in reverence prepared an ark. By faith Abraham obeyed God and went out not knowing where he was going. By faith Sarah herself received ability to conceive beyond human possibility (Heb. 11:7-11).
a) The Object And Source Of Our Faith
Life has no questions that faith cannot answer. But where do we get this faith? We get it from the word of God, which is the source of our faith. George Mueller, the father of faith always prayed with an open Bible. We must learn the secret of transforming God’s word into faith-filled petitions. Charles Spurgeon always prayed, “Do as thou haste said.” In this way, we shall also be definitely praying according to the will of God. We read in l John 5:14,15, “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us -whatever we ask – we know that we have what we asked of him.”
Faith is confidence in action. It not only passively waits on God, but also actively seeks to know and do His will. Faith must be accompanied by works. Once a desert traveler said, “I will loose my camel and commit it to God.” ‘Friend’ said the fellow traveler, “Tie thy camel and commit it to God.”
The object of faith is God himself. We have to trust him where we cannot trace him. Nothing is too difficult for him (Jer. 32:17, 27). For nothing is impossible with God (Lk. 1:37). Jesus said, “The things impossible with men are possible with God.” (Lk. 18:27).
The disciples of Jesus could not heal the epileptic boy. When Jesus arrived on the scene of their failure, what did He find them doing? -Praying? Repenting for their failure? No, Jesus found them having a discussion. This is what is happening in our churches today- endless debates, seminars, and discussions! The kingdom of God does not consist of discussion, but of power and authority, and this power comes through faith in God.
What we need today is not Abraham’s faith, but Abraham’s God. It is not the question of whether you have enough faith, but in whom you have faith. It includes two elements: The belief that God is; and that he is a rewarder of those who earnestly seek him (Heb. 11:6).
To believe that “God is” means much more than accepting Him as a supreme being; it means to believe in the character of God as He has revealed himself in His works, in His word and in Christ. Thus to believe that “God is” is to exercise faith upon Him as such a being as the word declares Him to be: supreme, sovereign, in-affably holy, almighty, inflexibly just, yet abounding in mercy and grace.
Now from this stage we must pass on to the stage of exercising faith particularly regarding the graciousness of God, and the belief that he is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him.
What does seeking God mean? It is forsaking, denying our worldliness and taking him alone to be our Lord and master. To seek him diligently is to seek him early (Prov. 8:17); wholeheartedly (Ps. 119:10); earnestly (Ps. 27:4); and without being weary (Lk. 11:8). It is seeking him like a thirsty man seeks water. The Lord has promised: “And you shall seek Me and find Me, when you shall search for Me with all your heart.” (Jer. 29:13; 2 Chron. 15:15).
b) Walking By Faith
Paul says, that we walk by faith, not by sight (2 Cor. 5:7). Here, sight not only refers to our physical eyes, but it includes all the five senses of hearing, seeing, smelling, tasting, and touching. Hence, in other words what Paul says is, we cannot live by the five senses alone; we need to have faith. Faith is the sight of the inward eye. Jesus said, “Blessed are they who do not see, and yet believe” (Jn. 20:26-29). “Faith sees the invisible, believes the incredible and receives the impossible” Faith is daily walking hand in hand with God. If we truly walked by faith instead of sight, our prayer life would be revolutionized, totally.
2. Faith Is Believing God Inspite Of Circumstances
a) Faith’s Master Key Is Patience
When the situation looks hopeless, keep hoping. When everything looks impossible, refuse to accept defeat. You are not defeated until you lose your patience and faith. Jesus said, “The things impossible with men are possible with God. ” (Lk. 18:27). For nothing will be impossible with God (Lk. 1:37).
A Patient Faith Encounter: (Female Turns Male At The Airport)
The stronger and deeper your faith, the longer would be your patience. I have several times gone through experiences, which has tested my faith and patience.
After a very fruitful mission in Kuwait, I was getting ready to leave for Dubai in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The receptionist of the Kuwait Continental Hotel where I was staying called me and said that they had received a fax of my entry visa to the UAE. However, when he opened my file, the visa paper was missing. “Sorry, I can’t find it,” he said. He looked for it till the next morning, but in vain.
Anyway, I drove to the airport in faith. But the Kuwait immigration officers would not let me board the plane without a valid visa to the UAE. But I was persistent. I pleaded with a top official at the airport, and persuaded him to let me travel to Dubai, as I was on a highly urgent mission. “My God would arrange a visa for me at the Dubai airport,” I told him. He just ‘stared’ at me, observing me from head to toe, and said “Okay, Go,” and signed off the ticket to obtain my boarding pass.
All through the flight, I was in communion with my God. I did not know what was in store for me in Dubai, but I was confident, my Lord was in control of the situation.
On Thursday around 5:30 in the evening our Jumbo touched down at the spacious Dubai airport. The sun had just begun sending its twilight rays, declaring the darkness to come.
It should have been an “ordeal” of 23 hours, in the normal sense. But for me it was an exciting experience of a lifetime-ever to keep fresh down my memory lane.
I rushed to the immigration counter. I revealed my identity to the officer. But it was a blow to me when he said my visa has not been filed, and I must leave by the next flight, back to India.
However, I refused to accept defeat. I wrestled with my master, for he had said, “The things impossible with men are possible with God.” I clung to the promise. I telephoned my contact in Dubai. But he said that the agent who was supposed to bring my visa to the airport was missing. Further, the next day was Friday when all the offices would be closed and arranging for a visa was impossible, he added.
It was a time of real test of my faith. The impeccable Dubai airport is one of the most luxurious shopping centers of the world, but I was not fascinated by it. I decided to spend time in fasting and praying till I got a visa to get out of the airport.
I was to address a meeting on Friday at 6.30 p.m. I tried to contact some top officers at the airport, but none would permit me, even to go near them. There were already scores of “stranded” passengers like me at the airport. I had a very profitable time with many of them, sharing my life testimony with them. I commended many in prayer and all of them got the visa, except me.
I knew, delay was not denial, and endurance has its reward. It was patience on trial. But my faith grew. I knew God wanted me in Dubai. I telephoned a hotel to try and arrange an emergency visa for me. They submitted the visa application at the airport at 11.30 p.m. on Thursday. But it was rejected without any reason being assigned. Again they submitted the same at 2.30 a.m. It was rejected the second time also. However, my faith grew further.
I phoned my contact in Dubai again. “Are you still in the airport?” he asked. “I cannot understand your faith. Please go back, you don’t know Dubai,” he warned me. “Yes, I don’t know the situation here but, I know my Lord, I am confident that I will come out,” I replied. The whole of the next day I was praying and trying to persuade the officers to issue a visa. But no help came from any quarter.
Then, at 2 p.m., I asked the Lord to tell me the next course of action. Soon the answer came. The Lord directed me to talk to a particular lady staff at the airport. I narrated my story to her. What a miracle! She not only spoke my language but she was also a child of God, and she was planning to attend the same meeting I had to address that evening. However, though she was deeply concerned about my plight, she also expressed her inability to help me. Anyway, I insisted that she should play the role of Esther in this situation and plead my case with her officers. At last she took courage and spoke to some senior officers.
To her surprise, she found out that my immigration visa had been refused because the hotel people had wrongly spelt my name. Instead of writing Chandrakumar (a male name) they added an ‘I’ to the last letter, making me Chandrakumari (a female name).
Then I explained the problem to the officers, who were kind enough to allow the hotel people submit the visa application form a third time, correcting the mistake.
Indeed it was a miracle, a real expression of faith at work. I was issued an entry visa to the UAE at about 4.30 p.m. on Friday. The meeting was scheduled for 6.30 p.m. I was there at the conference hall sharp on time. When heaven intervenes, you will enjoy the mercy drops. Praise God, his “wind” moved in mighty force at the meetings, both in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. As we had sown in tears, we were sure to reap in cheers!
b) Doubt Sees The Wall
Doubt sees the wall; Faith sees the way. Joshua and his people went round the wall of Jericho 13 times. There was not even a hair- line crack on the wall till the 12th round. But they saw the mighty wall falling, at their last round.
Naaman, had to wait to see God at work in his life till he dipped himself in the river the 7th time. It’s God who fights for you. “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him, but God has revealed it to us by his spirit,” says the Bible.
c) Faith Sees The Way
While Jesus was testing Philip, he asked him the question, “Where are we going to find bread to feed them (the multitude)?” Philip did not answer his question, but said, “Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not sufficient for them, for everyone to receive a little.” (Jn. 6:1-10). The Lord asked him, “Where do we go?” But Philip’s answer dealt with “how much.” Let us not be statistical pessimists like Philip. All that the Lord would have expected Philip to say was, “I don’t know – but you know Lord. You are a specialist in situations like this, where else can we go except to you.”
Philip saw only the size of the problem. He did not realise how big his God was. He was more convinced of what could not be done than what could be done. If anything seems impossible to us, it is better to take our hands off and ask God in absolute faith to take over. These impossibilities are only apparent and temporary.
Naaman could not be healed till he placed his faith on the God of Israel and dipped himself seven times in the Jordan. Faith is persistent. Habakkuk says that even if everything around him, looked like disaster, he would still put his faith in God (Hab. 3:17-19).
d) Faith Is Above Reason
“God does not expect us to submit our faith to him without reason, but the very limits of reason make faith a necessity,” said, St. Augustine. Human reason was altogether opposed to what God had made known to Noah. In all probability, Noah had never experienced any rain (Gen. 2:5) and perhaps, had never personally seen any vessel going on the sea. Certainly, he had never witnessed anything like the cataclysm that was about to come upon the earth (Gen. 7:11,12). There was no precedent to support the faith of this man.
Also, it seemed utterly unlikely that God’s avenging justice would destroy the whole human race, and thus, His mercy be swallowed. The threatening judgment was a long way off (120 years- Gen. 6:3). Every one mocked at Noah and no one believed his message, as a result no one volunteered to help in building the ark. He had no technical knowledge of how that heavy ark was going to float on the water especially without any anchor to stay her mast and sail to steady her, or steering to direct her journey. Moreover he had no understanding of how they would survive in a sealed ark, for an indefinite period of time. The only opening from the ark was towards heaven through the window on top. But inspite of all these circumstances, Noah’s faith offered a steady trust and believed in God.
Because faith deals with the supernatural and the divine it does not always seem to be ‘reasonable’. Abraham did not use ‘common sense’ to leave his land, not knowing where he was going but simply obeyed God’s command.
Joshua did not use shrewdness to attack Jericho without any death-dealing weapons (Josh. 6:1-20). People may laugh at such insanity, but it worked. Actually, faith is highly reasonable. There can be nothing more reasonable than a creature trusting its creator. Is it insane to trust the Almighty God who can neither lie nor fail. It is the most sensible, sane, rational thing a man could do. With a child-like trust, we can storm the gates of heaven.
e) Positive Possibility Faith
Talk yourself into possibility thinking. “I can do all things through Christ who is strengthens me.” (Phil. 4:13). Jesus said, “… all things are possible to him who believes.” (Mk. 9:23). The just shall live by faith (Hab. 2:4). Dress up your mind as you dress your body. If you want something worthwhile to come out of your mind, you have to put something worthwhile into it. Every one of us has the potential to talk ourselves into any attitude. If you keep repeating, ‘I am tired, I am finished, I am through’, you will soon believe it and become likewise.
The positive application is equally powerful. Keep repeating loudly, “I am going to be happy today, though the skies are cloudy and gray, no matter what comes my way, I am going to be happy today.” Feed your mind with joy, faith, hope, love, happiness and high achievement. Powerful possibility thought, allowed to remain in the mind has enormous life-changing power. Believe in it deeply enough to try it long enough. Jesus looked at the blind men who had a powerful possibility faith, and said, “Be it done to you according to your faith,” and they received sight (Matt. 9:29).
Make your prayers affirmative, not negative. Ask God once, and never again, but do not stop praying. Stop begging and start thanking. Continuing to plead will only indicate your lack of faith in God’s hearing or helping power. Thank him for hearing your prayer. Pray yourself up. Don’t pray yourself down. Jesus prayed himself up, “Abba Father all things are possible unto you” (Mk. 14:36). This is power generating, hope-building, anxiety-relieving prayer. “After all, God wants to see his sons and daughters walk with shoulders back, heads erect, with dignity shining in their faces” – R.H. Schuller. Faith is affirming success before it comes; and claiming victory before it is achieved.
f) Mountain Moving Faith
The Lord Jesus said, “Have faith in God… whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes, what he says is going to happen, it shall be granted him.” (Mk. 11:22-23). Mountain moving faith is not merely touching your toes in the water at the beach, but it is daring to step into the deep water.
i) Visualizing The Future Event
Mountain moving faith begins with an act of imagining. Start by painting a picture in your mind of what you would like to accomplish. If you aim at nothing you will hit it. Have a goal in your life that is necessary to motivate you. Not having a goal is worse than not reaching a goal. When you draw a clear mental picture of what you really want, then you become enthusiastic about it. Enthusiasm produces ambition, which helps you to plan, pray and project your vision to the Lord.
ii) Desiring To Achieve It
Lack of desire is sometimes a greater hindrance to faith than real doubt. No man will ever believe that he can move a mountain unless he really wants that mountain to move. If there’s a will, there’s a way. Never say never. Faith is desiring something with all your heart. But at the same time you must censor those desires. You must raise moral questions such as, ‘Is it right and just?’ ‘Does God want me to do this and is it pleasing to him?’ And so on.
iii) Daring To Achieve It
Lack of courage can produce doubt in you. Fear of failure, fear of embarrassment, fear of involvement or personal self-sacrifice keeps you away from daring to attempt or venture into something. “I would rather attempt to do something great and fail, than attempt to do nothing and succeed!”- R.H. Schuler. Faith is making a decision without any guarantee of success. Whenever you make a choice you take a chance. Even if you decide to do nothing you still run the risk of failing to attempt what might have become a great miracle. In fact, you must be more concerned of bypassing a rare and rich opportunity than making a great mistake.
Faith is daring to face disappointments. If you never try, you may seem never to loose anything. But actually you may be loosing what you could have gained. Victory is not necessarily reaching your goal, but reaching your maximum possibility in the light of the opportunities that come your way. Mountain moving faith is creative and builds self-confidence through chance taking. Self-confidence cannot be taught it must be caught.
iv) Starting To Implement It
You will never get started if you play it safe. A turtle cannot walk unless it sticks its head out. It is always under the protection of its heavy shell and it does not know who is standing nearby to kick it off. But it has to take the risk of putting its head out in order to move and achieve things pertaining to its daily living. There are many who say they have faith but never take a step out or get started. Fence-sitting faith is not strong enough to move a mole- hill.
Mountain moving faith should move from the level of imagination into the level of conversation and then into concrete organization. Prof. Milton said, “Beginning is half done.” If you have a vision or an idea from the Lord, then after praying much about it you can discuss it with other committed, spirit filled men of God and if you are deeply convinced in your spirit get started today, right now as you are reading this message.
v) Anticipating And Affirming Victory
Some people have imagination, conversation, and organization but lack anticipation. After starting in faith they start doubting, worrying and wondering whether they would ever succeed. Dr. N. Vincent Peale said, “Hope is the great power that can move you to success. Why? Because when a man expects to win, he does not hold anything back, but gives his project all that he’s got.” Such deep commitment to our cause will help us reach our maximum height of potential effectiveness. William Carey said, “Attempt great things for God and Expect great things from God.”
Often the reason for your failure may be because you are indecisive, you need to move forward with an expectant confidence. Opportunities will not wait for you. Develop the ability to appraise opportunities intelligently, seize swiftly, and promote them confidently.
Faith is making claims to victory before it is achieved. Mountain movers are people who boldly talk about their future victory. They know that, ‘rats flee from the sinking ship.’ Affirm victory and you will visualize yourself wining which will in-turn produce in you a new enthusiasm. Ask God to give you a faith deep enough to predict victory before it is within your grasp. “All things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they shall be granted to you.” (Mk. 11:24).
vi) Waiting Without Quitting
Mountain moving faith has great waiting power. It may seem to you that you have passed the point of no return. But still do not quit or run away, keep going the victory is yours. Waiting is like faith in deep waters. In every project or problem, there are times when there is nothing that we can do but wait. Victorious people are those who refuse to accept in defeat. Their long – standing and enduring generates fantastic bounce-back ability. Patience empowers faith and gives you victory over temptation to quit. “If we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we would wait eagerly for it.”
Mountain moving faith also involves surrendering, letting go and letting God take over. Jesus said, “My Father all things are possible unto Thee. Nevertheless, not my will, but Thine be done.” ‘Thy will be done’ is a supreme statement and an ultimate declaration of faith. Inspite of all that you do, your mountain may not move. Take off your hands, try this miracle generating prayer ‘Let your will be done.’ Some times the boat you are traveling may hit a huge rock. However much you pray in faith the Lord may not remove the rock, but he may raise the level of water so that you may go over the rock and continue your journey. But any way the victory is yours!
3. Faith Is Obeying God Regardless Of Consequences
By Faith Abraham offered Isaac (Heb. 11:17). He not only believed God inspite of the circumstances but also obeyed God regardless of the consequences, and God said, “I will bless you because you have obeyed me” (Gen. 22:15-18).
a) Faith Seems To Involve An Element of Risk
This kind of faith seems to be risky. God does not give a blue print for our future. He wants us to depend on him day by day and to walk by faith. Therefore, all we need to do at any time is to take the next step that God shows us. There is an ancient Chinese proverb, which says, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with but a single step.” If we have sought his will sincerely, we can be sure God has over ruled everything to let us decide rightly. The principle we should always bear in mind is: “Never doubt in the darkness what God has shown in the light.” Ananias had to take a risk in obeying the Lord’s command to meet and heal Saul the persecutor.
b) Faith Involves Suffering and Losing
Jesus said that Paul must suffer for his name’s sake (Acts 9:16). When Jesus began to teach the disciples that he must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed, Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. But Jesus said, “Get behind me Satan! You do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.” (Mk. 8:31-33).
In God’s plan there are certain sufferings we need to go through and we should not try to compromise in such situations. We may not understand them. We may pray for them. But we have to be patient and trust the Lord. Daniel had to wait for 70 years for the promise to be fulfilled. Abraham waited for 70 years too. Job said, though he may slay me yet will I trust him.
Hence, faith is trusting God and obeying Him inspite of our sufferings. We read in Heb. 11:35-40 “Women received their dead by resurrection; and others were tortured, not accepting their release, in order that they might obtain a better resurrection; and others experienced mocking and scourging, yes also chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were tempted, they were put to death with the sword; they went about in sheepskins, in goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, ill-treated…” Everyone tortured, according to scriptures will get a better resurrection, which means a better eternity. Would you rather have a better 70 years or a better eternity? We read in the above incidence about one set of people going through victory and deliverance and the other set becoming martyrs. But both are saints who went through these experiences for the glory of God. Hence faith is not only for receiving but also for losing.
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego said that the God whom they serve is able to deliver them and rescue them from the king’s hand. But even if he did not do that, they would not serve other gods or worship the image of gold (Dan. 3:16-18). They would have definitely prayed to God to save them from being thrown into the fiery furnace. If I had been one of them, I would have prayed to God to send a heavy rain and quench the fire. God did not save them from being thrown into the fire, but he was there with them and he walked with them. If they had not gone through the fire they might not have experienced the glorious walk with the Lord. Some times God allows us to go through certain sufferings for his glory so that we might come to know him more intimately.
In the above case, though God allowed them to be thrown into the fire, he eventually delivered them out of it without any hurt and not even the smell of fire was on them (v 27). Like Daniel, our love for God may not keep us out of the lion’s den but would surely protect us while in the den. Faith is to breathe the flower in every seed, to see a star in every drop of dew, to await the promise of a rainbow despite the cloud.
In most cases God will eventually deliver us out of our problems or sufferings. But in some cases he allows us to become martyrs as we read in Hebrews 11:37-38. They were commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised (v 39). But tremendous blessings would come out of that. Jesus allowed Lazarus to die. But he brought him back to life. Bringing a man dead for four days back to life is a greater miracle and brings greater glory to God than healing a sick man. Even the sisters of Lazarus could not understand that. Hence, faith is trusting God while not being able to make any sense out of the circumstances and obeying him regardless of the consequences.
There are three areas that must be cultivated if any faith is to be a living faith; the inner life of devotion, the intellectual life of rational thought, and the outer life of human service.- D. Elton
I would like to conclude quoting the words of Belinda Pruett:
Master, the flood rages about me and I stand before kings of the world and I have no ark, as Noah had.
I stand before the kings of the world and I have no rod as Moses had.
I step into my fiery furnace and await the coming of the fourth man.
My ark cannot be seen, my rod cannot be held in my hand.
I am safe, Oh Lord. Faith cannot be burned even though I die, I shall live again.
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