All human beings have faith. The question is, faith in what or in whom?

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. (Hebrews 11:1).

It is curious to note that faith is a universal attribute.

It doesn’t matter if you have religious beliefs or not. All people make use of faith. But when we analyze your statements, two doubts arise in my mind: What is your definition of faith? And, faith in what or in whom?

For example, athletes have faith in winning. Politicians have confidence in the appropriateness of their approaches, and companies have faith in their growth plans.

Some are confident of their chances and their ability to defeat their opponents. The others have faith in the adequacy of their political programs. And the latter rely on the formula of reducing costs and producing better and cheaper than their competitors.

The problem is that in a sports final there are two or more contenders and, except for one, all the others will lose, all the governments end up defeated at the ballot box, and of all the companies competing for a sector, only one manages to be the dominant one, and that for a while.

So I’m afraid we have a problem with their definition of faith.

Faith definition

In the best of cases it would have to be reduced to “a certain statistical probability”, if not a simple wish.

In other cases we cannot speak of faith, but of strength. You have the best players in the world and you have managed to get them to play together. It is very unlikely that an inferior team will beat you. Unless you make a very bad tactical approach.

Sun Tzu, in his book “The Art of War” wrote:

If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will lose every battle; if you know yourself but not your enemy, you will win some battles and lose others; but if you know your enemy and know yourself, you should not fear the outcome of a thousand battles.‘.

Very interesting and motivating this Sun Tzu, however, this is not faith either. This does not always work, and if not, just ask Nadal and Djokovic.

Because true faith is something very different. It is not a matter of probabilities. Nor is it a matter of wishful thinking. Nor is it about dominance over others.

Faith, I insist, is something very different.

Let’s look at the definition of faith found in the Epistle to the Hebrews, chapter 11 and verse 1:

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.

True faith is absolute certainty. He who has faith does not say: ‘I trust that we are going to obtain victory’. He who has faith affirms: ‘We have already conquered’.

Paul does not say that ‘we shall be more than conquerors in Christ’. Paul affirms: ‘we are more than conquerors’.

And Paul did not express the desire that nothing could separate us from the love of God. Paul affirmed: Nothing will be able to separate us from the love of God. He did not know what was to come in the future, but he knew that any attack was already defeated in Christ.

Wish or hope

On the other hand, faith has to do with what is awaited, not with what is desired.

And the difference is subtle, but crucial.

At a subway stop we wait for the arrival of the convoy, we do not wish the arrival. The wish is something you long for, but you don’t know if you will achieve it or not. On the other hand, what is awaited is something that we do not yet have, but that we know will happen.

Victory and success are wished for in the world. But Christians await the coming of Christ.

You can fight and strive for success, but you will never be certain that you can achieve it.

However, in Christ we have the certainty that he will return for his people.

It does not depend on our strength or ability. It is Christ who has taken the decision. We just have to stand firm in the faith.

In the meantime we will suffer problems and adversities, and it is natural and legitimate to desire to be delivered from them. However, faith tells us that we are in his hands and that we can trust in his mercy and wisdom.

This is what Jesus expressed in Gethsemane:

“My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”(Matthew 26:39).

Because faith knows that if God allows us to experience this adversity, it is to ensure our victory.

Object of faith

Finally, faith has to do with the object of faith.

The natural man relies on his own capabilities. Sun Tzu put it very well. But they forget that the times are in God’s hands, and the best prepared plan can be ruined by a simple rain.

They trust in chariots and horses, but we trust in God, like David before Goliath or like Elisha before the prophets of Baal. The work does not depend on us. It depends on God.

We may not be able to see God, but He has changed our lives. We may not be able to see our future, but we know it is at God’s side. And we have not yet received our crown, but we know that it is waiting for us in heaven.

So when God leads you to face challenges, don’t look at your capabilities or the strength of your adversary. Look to God, listen to his words, have faith in him and wait upon him, and you will receive what God has for you.

God bless you.

Cover photo by Matt Duncan on Unsplash

En el Valle de Sombra de Muerte

A lo largo de nuestras vidas, todos vamos a pasar por valles de oscuridad y dolor.

Pero la Palabra de Dios da ánimo, y nos muestra cómo seguir adelante en dichos momentos, y vencer.