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“Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, but the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.
During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. It’s a ghost,’ they said, and cried out in fear.
But Jesus immediately said to them: Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.
‘Lord, if it’s you,’ Peter replied, ‘tell me to come to you on the water.’
‘Come,’ he said.
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, ‘Lord, save me!’
Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him, ‘You of little faith,’ he said, ‘why did you doubt?’
And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, ‘Truly you are the Son of God.’” (Matthew 14:22-33)
The Amplified version of the Bible, which expounds the original Greek and Hebrew texts of the Bible defines faith like this:
“Now faith is the assurance (the confirmation, the title deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses].” (Hebrews 11:1 AMP)
I often liken faith to a scene from the movie Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Indiana stands at the edge of a gaping chasm. He must enter a door carved into the side of the cliff opposite him. It is a humanly impossible feat, but the written clues he has before him state that if he has the faith, he can walk across thin air to the other side of the chasm.
After a minute or two in the crucible, he finally finds the faith to step off the cliff into the chasm, believing (as his clues guarantee) that he will be able to walk across the air to the other door. As soon as he takes that first step in faith he finds, much to his relief, that there is a solid stone bridge beneath his feet disguised to look like part of the chasm. He safely walks on the solid rock all the way to the door in pure amazement.
Faith in God is a lot like this. We may not be able to see him at first or believe we can stand on his promises (recorded in the Bible), but when we take that first step in faith we find out that he and his promises have been that rock solid bridge before us all along. And we can trust in God’s Word (the Bible) infinitely more than Indiana could trust his book of clues because “…your [God’s] word is truth” (John 17:17) and “…the Scripture cannot be broken (John 10:35).
Christian faith is trust in the substantiated reality that already exists even though we cannot see it. For example, we cannot see microwaves, radio waves or ultra-violet rays, but we know they exist and act according to our belief every time we heat up our food, turn the radio on or put on some sunscreen.
When we take steps of faith with God, we always discover that, infinitely more than that stone bridge or those microwaves, that God is firmly beneath our feet. Likewise, we can firmly trust in God’s Word (the Bible), which is rock solid truth.
“We live by faith, not by sight.” (2 Corinthians 5:7)