Faith is a big word for only having 5 letters. If you look up the definition of faith you will read: complete trust or confidence in someone or something, a strong belief in God, a firm belief in something for which there is no proof, or complete trust.
Words that are similar to faith are trust, belief, confidence, credence, hope, optimism, reliance.
We have talked about faith before. Remember doubting Thomas, who needed to see Jesus in person after He was crucified. Thomas needed to see those wounds that Jesus had from hanging on that cross to be able to believe that Jesus did die and did rise again. We have talked about different things that happened to the disciples when they were with Jesus like the miracles He performed, being able to walk on water. The disciples were able to see these things happen so they had the proof to make it easier to have the faith that they needed. Things are easier to believe if you have physical proof. Seeing is believing after all.
But faith does not always come with physical proof and the definitions say it is a firm belief in something for which there is no proof, it is complete trust. It is a strong belief in God.
So let us look at the scriptures that Alice and I read this morning. They were about Abraham and Sarah. Talk about faith. Can you imagine being in Abraham’s shoes when He hears from God that Abram as he was called was now to be called Abraham and that he was to be the father of many nations. Abraham’s first thought most likely was how can that be when I am a very old man and I have no children to carry on after me? Then God says to Abraham that Sarai, his wife, will be called Sarah and she will have a child. Now Sarah is very old like Abraham and she has never had a child. How can this be? At first, I am thinking Abraham had his questions but it was God telling him this news. Abraham had a strong faith in God. If God said that he was to be the father of many nations and that Sarah would have a child, then by golly, that was what would happen. It didn’t matter how old they were, it didn’t matter that they at this point had no children. Abraham had faith in God and his faith didn’t waiver. Abraham knew that what God told him would happen and he would become the father of nations. It just would happen, no ifs, ands, or buts. And it did happen. Abraham became the father of many nations right down to all of us sitting here.
As I was doing my research, I came across a message that was written by a pastor from the Northminster church. I would like to share part of it with you. Like me, this pastor struggles with faith or blind faith as he or she calls it. Now this person’s mother had a strong, blind faith. She was a single mom and they struggled at times. However whenever a challenge came up the mother always said. “God will provide.” And God did provide. The pastor says that for the mom her faith came naturally and came from experience. A quote from the Danish philosopher Soren Keirkegaard says; “Faith is a passionate commitment made in what is objectively uncertain.” The pastor goes on to say at some point we have to abandon the notion of trying to prove that there is a God. We need to look at all the evidence that is around us that proves that there is a God and we don’t have to look very far. The following part is a quote from their message. “We can look around this room and see all of the people gathered here together at Northminster when they could be somewhere else on a Sunday morning. We can listen to the choir and know that music speaks to the soul. We can look at the beauty we find in nature, a sunrise or a sunset, the silence that come with a fresh coat of snow, soft and pure, towering mountain ranges, and beautiful blues of the lake on summer days. Just remember the joy of children running forward for a children’s sermon or the look on a baby’s face when it hears a familiar voice. The look on a groom’s face when he sees his bride coming toward him. Remember what a smile and a hug can do on a bad or lonely day. Or think about Abraham and Sarah from our readings today. In the face of old age and barrenness they believed and became the parents of many nations. They hoped beyond all hope. They trusted God. And they did not trust God in blindness; they trusted God on the promise that was made to them, based on the evidence of experiencing God first hand. How can there not be a God in these things? How can we not have faith?”
So many of the things that were mentioned speak to my heart for it is the people that are a part of the Newport UCC that I see on Sunday mornings or I know take time to read the message I’ve prepared; it is in the beauty of nature, the joy of a child, the love of a spouse, the goodness in a hug, that help me have the faith that God is ever present with us. It is the evidence that is needed to be able to have that faith, that trust. As you go about your week, remember to look at all the evidence around you that can strengthen your faith in God. May we be more like Abraham and Sarah with that strong faith they had that was based on a promise from God. Amen.