Jumping to Conclusions

“…even God, who quickeneth (resurrects) the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were.” (Romans 4:17b, emphasis mine)

Faking it

“In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;” (Titus 1:3, emphasis mine)

Faith is a mystery. To the non-believer, it’s bunk. A fairy tale. Something to be dismissed with a wave of the hand and a hard glint in the eye. To the believer though, faith is still a mystery but it retains its ethereal-yet-real beauty even as we are in the middle of something we can’t explain—fully as we’d like. Faith in God—and Jesus—is the ideal. As we age, we may grow out of our desire for an imaginary friend and, maybe, stop believing in the fairies at the bottom of the garden. It’s also a synonym for ‘confidence’. We express how we’ve lost ‘faith’ in the ‘system’, whatever system that holds power over some aspect of our lives. The faith to which I’m referring here is something subtle, fleeting. Like light when observed from one vantage point over another. It’s there. A quiet stirring that might look for a moment on the present and then launch out into the future and into possibility. Oh it’s quite real, I assure you. Whether you invest that vision in God. Or in something more transitory like some democratic process or tangibly evident observation, it’s faith. Call it what you will, you can’t live without it.

“And there were certain Greeks among them that came up to worship at the feast: The same came therefore to Philip, which was of Bethsaida of Galilee, and desired him, saying, Sir, we would see Jesus.” (John 12:20-21, emphasis mine)

The realm of possibility is alive all around us. Look at language and the mind. Now, some tongues are better suited to express a fuller dimension of imagination than are others. The English language is well-suited for make-believe. The subjunctive clause is used to express ideas and instances and possibilities that, while they may not have happened yet, are on the table, so to speak, for consideration (In this case, future subjunctive: if I were to see Jesus) Who knows the reason why those Greeks wanted to see and speak to Jesus in the above passage? Admittedly, the King James words it a bit wonkily (by today’s standards), but it comes close to a subjunctive mood. “We would see Jesus” essentially and to my mind speaks to their great desire and also confidence at being able to get to Him. Something akin to a strong conviction. He was a busy guy, thousands followed Him around at the height of His ministry. And billions today vie for His attention. But your faith isn’t hampered by numbers, is it? He says if you have faith as “a grain of mustard seed…which indeed is the least of all seeds” (Matthew 13:31-32) you can remove mountains. Ideally, though, our faith is to be used to realize Him before appropriating a blessing or solving a problem.

“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2, emphasis mine)

Making it

“Now faith is…” (Hebrews 11:1)

Don’t doubt. You truly can do anything you put your mind to, no qualifiers. Provided science or politics can and will support your ambitions, I should add. There’s a dark side to this though: God has given free will to His creatures (us). The world is alive and abuzz with opportunity and excitement and achievement. Much of it is beneficial and even necessary (not to mention mind-blowing). But when we mistake the direction at which progress is to be aimed and miss the heart of God, He’ll let us go on creating and dreaming and achieving and imagining—without realizing His Son, who makes it all possible. The worst kind of conclusion.

“Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not…in Thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you…” (Matthew 7:22-23a) He’s not lying when He says this.

How ’bout this, instead:

“Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see Him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.” (1 Peter 1:8-9)

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