In my early years, when I would try to describe what faith in Jesus is, I would fumble over vague, ethereal-feeling words. I would say things like, “You just feel it,” or “It’s like hoping or trusting in something,” or even, “Faith is believing in something.” The responses this would invoke were usually a wrinkled forehead, raised eyebrows, and confused eyes. If the listener was really nice, they would say something like, “Oh. Okay,” in a slight, faint voice.
In those days, I could not explain faith very well, but faith was becoming a very real thing to me. When I came across the definition of faith in Hebrews 11, a massive change took place in me. The author of Hebrews writes, “Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not yet seen.” The words substance and evidence blew my mind.
Substance and evidence are concrete words. They are solid and strong. They are neither vague nor ethereal-feeling words. And though substance and evidence had been nowhere in my attempts to communicate about faith, they were spot on with what I was experiencing in my relationship with Jesus.
Fast forward to now. This past Tuesday, our pastors went into the city to share our faith with anyone who would want to hear or experience it. I went with one of our Belizean interns to Christown Mall. We were headed to talk to a couple of people when a guy came out from around a corner and we almost crashed into him. He had a book under his arm and I asked him what he was reading. He said it was some trashy crime novel. We laughed, and then I asked him how he has been doing lately. He told us he lost his job, got in a car wreck without insurance, had to sleep on the street last night, and some guys beat him up pretty bad. He also told us he was at Walmart to get a backpack.
When we told him we were walking around looking for people to pray for, he said he would love some prayer. As we prayed for him, we did our best to say what we thought Jesus was saying to him.
By the end of the prayer, he was crying a bit, and I sensed God telling me to buy him the backpack. So, we opened our eyes and I asked him if we could buy him the backpack. He started crying again and said, “Are you serious?” I told him that I sensed God telling me to buy him the backpack. With tears in his eyes, he told us that his plan was to steal a backpack.
We all sat for a few seconds, feeling the holiness of God surround us. I told him that God knows him, sees him, and cares about him—that God set this whole thing up so he would know how much God loves him.
When we walked away, the intern that was with me said, “Man that really strengthened my faith.” I knew exactly what he was talking about because we had just experienced substance and evidence.
I pray that today you can think back on times of God building your faith with substance and evidence—and that you will join us on Sunday as we continue to teach God's word on sexuality and God's heart for all of us who are sexually broken.
God bless you,