– Peter Kreeft
Our faith in God is not wishful thinking or trying our best to imagine that God exists. As the author of Hebrews writes, “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). Having an assurance doesn’t sound like hoping it’s true because an assurance is knowing for certain about something, almost like an experiential knowledge, which is true since “the Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God” (Romans 8:16). This “conviction of things not seen” doesn’t mean we don’t believe in it. There’s the dark side of the moon that we can’t see with our eyes, but we know it must be there, although now we’ve seen the back of the moon by satellite. The point is, not seeing something doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist, just as God exists and is invisible because He is Spirit (John 4:24).
Our faith is not in ourselves or in others but in God alone, for the strength of our faith is not in us but in the Object of our Faith, and that is God. When we show faith that God forgives us of all our sins (1 John 1:9), then we show Him we trust Him and take Him at His Word since God cannot lie (Numbers 23:19, Hebrews 6:18, Titus 1:2). If God promises something in His Word and we know that He cannot lie, why should we not trust it like the one found in John 3:16? I believe Him, but I have a great distrust of my own feelings. Our feelings can lie to us, but God’s Word never does.
Jesus spoke of mountain-moving faith where you can say “to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him” (Mark 11::23), but it must be according to God’s will (Matthew 6:10). James wrote that if someone was sick, they were to “call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven” (James 5:14-15). “Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. Then he prayed again, and heaven gave rain, and the earth bore its fruit” (James 5:17-18). Since Elijah was only human, don’t shortchange your prayers to God because “the prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working” (James 5:16b).
Mr. Kreeft is correct in saying that it’s only a world where faith is difficult that faith can exist because if it were by seeing, then it wouldn’t be faith. We have faith in the unseen God because we have a conviction and assurance of His existence; we know that God doesn’t lie, unlike man; and we know that if our prayers are according to God’s will, they can be exceedingly powerful. I have faith in that. What about you?