“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” (Hebrews 11:1)
Well, we finally made it. Today my calendar tells me what is an undisputed fact. As I write this, it is the first day of Spring. This is an undeniable fact. My desk Calendar says so. I looked it up on the internet. Several friends have posted it on their social media pages. And proof, of all proof, even the little animated Google logo tells us its the first day of spring.
There is only one little problem. It still feels and looks like Winter. The sky is overcast, I had to wear a coat to the office. If you look closely you can still see frost and maybe just the last stubborn remnants of last week’s snow under the bushes. The trees are mostly still bare. Winter this year, at least in Ohio, decided to take the church snowbirds route. It was nowhere to be seen November through February. But now it’s back. You can say it’s Spring all you want. But my eyes, thermostat and wind chill all tell me something very different. It’s still winter.
(actual picture outside my window. OK it’s not but it feels like this)
The facts and the reality don’t match. The reality is, it’s Spring. But the facts, what I see around me don’t match up. So what am I to believe? Is it Spring or is it winter? Does the reality make any difference when the facts don’t line up?
I don’t know about you, but I feel the same way sometimes when I read my Bible. I read these wonderful things about how God can move mountains and changes people’s lives. How he loves and gives his children good gifts. And it is the most, moving, heart warming, life changing things one could ever read, or hope for.
But then I look at the facts around me. And I see good, faithful Christians really struggling. I see them in the midst of grief and pain. I see mountains not always moving. I see people look at what life has handed them and wonder how any of this can be a good gift. the facts around me don’t necessarily match up with the reality. So which are we to believe?
The author of Hebrews reminds us that this is where faith comes in. Faith is holding onto the reality, even when the facts don’t line up. It doesn’t mean that we are blindly ignoring the world around us. Far from it. It simply means we understand that the facts can fool us. Things are not always what they seem. We are by no means the best judge of truth. If push comes to shove, faith says hold onto the reality every single time.
In some ways it’s like this “spring day” we’re having right now. Yes the weather is less than optimal. But it is Spring. And while we can’t see it yet, in small ways Spring is happening around us. Just because we can’t see it, doesn’t mean it isn’t here. No one panicked when they got up this chilly morning (OK maybe a little. Spring will come, because we know it always has. What we have seen gives us hope when we can’t see it yet.
I hold onto the reality that God will move the motions in our way because I’ve seen Him do it over and over. And I can point to plenty of times in my life when it seemed as if the mountain wasn’t going to move or it moved in an unexpected way. If God has done it in the past, there is no need to worry He will not continue to do so. There have been many times when I have wondered why God allows His people to struggle in life. Yet I have never seen Him abandon them. In truth, those are some of the moments when they draw closer to Him. And I have experienced many “gifts” in life that I wouldn’t call good. Yet I’ve always seen God’s goodness somehow shine through.
So don’t worry. Spring is coming no matter what the wind says. And we can believe in God’s promises. That’s the reality. That’s the truth. That in the end, is faith.
Rev. Dr. Brian Jones <><