FAITH IS NOT INTELLECTUAL, IT "IS THE ASSURANCE OF THINGS HOPED FOR, THE CONVICTION OF THINGS NOT SEEN"(NAS)
Another Bible version says it "is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." (KJV-Hebrews 12:2)
Discussing the subject of faith can be pretty intensive and extensive, but I will just give you a "wisdom nugget" today, so that we can remember not to intellectualize it, like we humans tend to do. We "understand" this word very well, that is, until something happens that shakes us, and asks us to think, do, function, etc. in ways we never have before. This takes us out of our comfort zones, and we don't understand it. I was reading Youngs, Fuller, and Schuller's book Woman to Woman Wisdom and found a really neat excerpt from it that I want to share concerning this matter. At the end of the day, we need to understand that the God of this universe is always in control, does things to get our full attention, wants our full dependency on Him, and strengthens our resolve and relationship with Him through this issue trust or faith. What do you know of it? How has your faith been tested? Do you understand the difference between intellectualizing and just plain faith and trust with wreckless abandonment in Christ?
The authors of the book wrote, "...experiences that shake, rock, and otherwise threaten to buckle our lives can move us beyond business as usual and, instead, to search out a new place-a new way-to live. Whether our angst causes us to reel, scream, plead, or cry out to God, one thing is for certain: when we go knocking-or kicking, screaming, or banging-at God's door, we do find God. As with all productive fights, the exchange leads us to a new understanding of ourselves and beyond a mere intellectual-level understanding of the God of the universe. The difference of the distance we've then traveled is not just a matter of degree, but of redo-much like when a house burns down." Has life caused you to question your faith and question your sense of who God is and what He should or shouldn't be doing?
A man of incredible faith, a pastor, lost his home and all valubles in it. He thought that his faith was strong. He knew God, a good life, hadn't had many trials; He knew what the Word said about faith and could quote it backwards and forwards. That's all good until your faith is tested. How will you trust God then? Will your opinion change? This man sought refuge in God, and at the same time, he railed against Him. He begged God for mercy through his ordeal, but, at the same time, accused God of not sparing a man who was a servant of His. How could this happen? This man had no idea that these pleadings and accusations, his shaken resolve and faith, would transform his thoughts about God and what real faith was. It would force him to rebuild a more solid relationship with God from the ground up. The book says of him, "A faith once rooted in his intellectual and professional life had been tested mightily, and the result was a greater breadth and depth and scope of God than he had ever known. He now knew God intimately and could speak to others on a level he never even understood. He arrived at a far richer place than he could have ever predicted. The branches of his earlier faith withered in comparison."
We will have our moments like the man mentioned above. We will go through the "fire." Our faith will be tested and sometimes harshly. We usually want to race around in our minds trying to figure out what just happened and then what we're going to do about it. We don't connect any lessons for life to it or any building up of character. Sometimes, we withdraw and nothing good comes out of it. If life's trials shake us up, and our faith is merely intellectual, we will be thrown off course or break. Some things are beyond our understanding, and no matter how hard we try and figure it and God out (concerning the matter), we won't get what we're looking for. It's really dangerous too, when things are going well and we adopt the "Don't call me; if and when I need you, I'll contact you" attitude. When the trials and storms do blow in (like they inevitably will), with this attitude, we'll blame God or do away with Him altogether. His goal isn't to drive us; it's to draw us. He uses storms to build or rebuild a relationship with us, because that's ultimately what He is interested in. The authors say, "In this, the storms of life are productive in that they move us from an intellectual understanding of God to a deeper and richer relationship with Him," if you'll just trust Him. "But we need not wait for a "fire" to drive us into a rich and lush relationship with the Almighty. We can do this even when the sun is shining and the skies are clear." This is my admonishment. I find that when I practice loving, seeking, and trusting Him with wreckless faith during the good times, it makes it easier to run to Him and seek His covering, grace, mercy, and protection when things get rough.
Choose to build or rebuild your life with God in the center seat, asking Him to help you trust him blindly, through good times and bad; to help you not intellectualize (and trust in yourself) or over-analyze, but to put your complete and total trust in Him. He is still and always will be in control.