It is fundamental to living our lives for God and is the bedrock of Christianity. It is interesting to emphasize faith as a function of fact. Faith is not esoteric—it has a real basis on the scriptures. I have always believed in the infallibility, harmony, and divine inspiration of the Bible, but I guess I had always thought that Hebrews 11:1 meant that we have faith despite the evidence of facts. I was incorrectly translating “…the substance of things hoped for…” as “…things wished for.” There is a big difference! The Bible is all the facts. I have read that faith is taking God at His word and not asking questions. I am still working on that, but I have begun to reform my thinking about how I manifest and exercise my own faith. As an old high school debater, I was taught that the key ingredient in any debate was preponderance of evidence. I knew the Bible was true, spiritually and historically. It just never occurred to me that it was the evidence. Once I grasped that, the idea that I have the facts began to crystallize for me.
George Mueller wrote that trials are the food of faith. My own experiences have proven this true. After leaving our business, Michelle and I lived in a 23-foot camper, with really nothing to our name, looking for work, and wondering how we were going to live. It was during this time that I began to pray daily. Not consistently, and not articulately, but as often as possible. I believed strongly that I had gotten about as low as I wanted to go and had been pretty unsuccessful at following my own head. It was time for someone else to be in charge for a while, and I was more than willing to sit back and follow. With the benefit of hindsight, I can see that this was the time when our lives began to resolve again. I landed a good temporary job, Michelle began teaching at a community, and we moved out of the camper into a house.
It would be dishonest for me to say that I immediately ran back to God at this point, because I did not. I thought we were “just getting back on our feet.” Michelle got a full-time position at one university in Iowa, I got a job with another there, and we moved there, bought a house and had things again. And I stopped praying daily. “Just getting back on our feet,” I kept saying. Then something changed. When we adopted two kids I began to feel the Holy Spirit leading me to raise them in Christ. We began attending church in Iowa, mostly just to “sit and soak,” and unbeknownst to me, the Holy Spirit began working on my family. After Dad died, I began to feel and understand the tremendous importance of living life in light of eternity. Throughout this entire process, I can truly say that these trials were building up my faith.
The hardships were—are—painful. The hardships were—are—important. Without the hardships, I would have continued on my way, about as far from God, intellectually and spiritually, as I had ever been in my life. I am now developing an attitude that credits God with the blessings in my life, and turns me toward Him whenever things go astray. I still have room to grow here, surely. But I trust Him more and more every day.
Faith. Faith is the evidence. Faith is the evidence. Faith is the evidence.