“If proof is possible, faith is impossible”
How does one absorb this?
How does it sink in?
under the skin
under the layers of cells
that “protect” me
scratch under the surface
to the scarring
where the tissue is not folded
Where is the proof of these things,
the unspoken, the unseen, the unheard?
“If proof is possible, faith is impossible”
I have been sitting on this quote for months (from a book by John Ortberg: All the places to go… How will you know? God has placed before you an open door. What will you do?“). This particular line has been slowly sinking in. I didn’t fully grasp it until I realised that proof is the known and faith is holding onto hope, trusting, persevering even in the unknown.
Oh how we long to know. Desiring answers. To be certain. To have control. To claim confidence in a life course versus a life Source.
I am amazed at how the Psalmist has a different type of confidence:
“Vindicate me, O Lord, for I have walked in my integrity,
and I have trusted in the Lord without wavering.
Prove me, O Lord, and try me; test my heart and my mind” (26:1-2).
Uh, wow. Can I confidently ask the God of the Universe, my Judge and my Defender, to test me? To prove me and try me?
Let me place before my eyes, before “me”, his steadfast love. Let me walk in his faithfulness (26:3).
David is confident in the Lord.
Asking the Lord for mercy (25:6). Asking him to reveal himself (25:4). Asking him to teach, lead and save (25:5).
Psalm 25:4-22 is amazing.
This year has been a real struggle, with shifting seasons of continual testing. I rejoice in these struggles though, thankful for them, for they have strengthened and humbled me, bringing me to my knees and to the Cross of Christ where I am enamoured by God’s mercy.
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,
whenever you face trials of many kinds,
because you know that the testing of your faith
produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may
be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God,
who gives generously to all without finding fault,
and it will be given to you.But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt,
because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea,
blown and tossed by the wind.”James 1:3-6
All I can do is come back again and again to faith. Because though we search for answers and long for clarity, proof is not often possible. And it’s actually better that way. It forces us to return to a God of the impossible (at least, impossible in our human understanding of possibilities).
When Job asks “where shall wisdom be found?” and “where is the place of understanding?” he acknowledges this difference between our ways and God’s ways (28:12,20). He admits “man does not know its worth, and it is not found in the land of the living” (v.13). In fact, he goes on to state that it is “hidden from the eyes of all living” (v.21). Which makes sense if faith is not a matter of our eyes, but our convictions, our belief in things not seen (Hebrews 11:1).
If we cannot see, if there is no proof, what then is the grounds for knowing?
As a Christian, it is comforting that “God understands the way to it, and he knows its place” (Job 28:23), that further still, God made a way in Jesus. God is the author of the seen and the unseen, and though wisdom and understanding are not ‘tangible’ or ‘visible’, he “looks to the ends of the earth and sees everything under the heavens“(v.24). He is all-seeing, and full of understanding. We see only dimly now, but he sees all that was, is and will be clearly; his view is beyond visibility and history.
All that is created is his; which he saw, declared, established and searched.
This year, obedience + faith + grace have been recurring themes. And faith is not a one time thing.
I choose to place my faith in Jesus. To trust him. To follow him.
And that is a daily decision.
…For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing,
but to us who are being saved it is the power of God (1 Cor. 1:18).
Faith is necessary at all times, in all things. In my health. In my study. In my work. In my relationships. In my speech. In my actions. In my future. Faith is necessary. And the more I accept that proof, knowledge, control and certainty are not always possible, the more I grow in my faith in a God who is all-knowing, all-seeing, all-loving and the only constant thing in this ambiguous, ever-changing reality. A God who so loved, who so knew our deepest need for salvation from our rebellion and reconciliation with himself that he would send Jesus to demonstrate what true suffering and trusting looks like
“…Yet not my will, but yours be done.”