When Seeing Isn’t Believing

Faith is defined in Hebrews 11: 1 as “… being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” (TNIV) One might not see this definition as a ringing endorsement for confident living. We desire in this twenty-first century to live in the shelter of absolutes, where questions find answers and doubts are overcome. “Seeing is believing,” we boldly proclaim in our empirical arrogance. The Hebrews 11 definition of faith…not exactly the absolute many are looking for.

It’s interesting to see Jesus’ definition of faith, offered to a doubting disciple. Thomas brashly declared that he would not embrace resurrection until he saw Jesus before him with nail prints in his hands and feet, and a wound in his side. He further claimed that unless he could put his fingers into the wounds themselves, he would not believe. Perhaps it was disbelief, disappointment, even anger that empowered this crude declaration. But when Jesus did appear before him, offering freely the evidence Thomas demanded, his skepticism melted into humble awe as he fell at Jesus’ feet, proclaiming him as Lord. What Jesus said next is perhaps the truest test of faith: “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

Hebrews 4:14-16 challenges believers once again to “hold firmly to the faith” and “approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”(TNIV) Words like firmly and confidence might not seem appropriate to some in the context of faith, and yet, they are absolutely vital for one’s journey with Christ.

The cross is our destination in this season of Lent, but the road that leads us there is full of uncertainty. Sure of what we hope for…certain of what we do not see, we take each step in faith, for there, at the cross, you and I receive mercy and find grace. And there, we witness the unmatched love of God that fuels every faithful step.

Jim Abernathy

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