By Faith


What is faith? It is the confident assurance that what we hope for is going to happen. Hebrews 11:1 (NLT).

When I was a Boy Scout I was taught how to use a compass. When our Scout Master, Hans Vandenberg, completed the lesson, he told us we were going to be put to the test. Leaving the shelter of the barn, we went out into a pitch-black African night equipped with nothing more than a small flashlight, a whistle, and a compass.         The bush was thick – alive with the sounds of night creatures. I have to admit; I was somewhat apprehensive. What would we have to do? We didn’t have long to wait. One by one we were sent off into the night. My turn came and the Scout Master gave me a simple instruction. “Walk on a bearing of 280 degrees until you come to a stream, then walk on a bearing of 50 degrees and you will arrive safely at your destination. Trust your compass and don’t stray from the bearings I’ve given you.”

I set off and was immediately swallowed by the bush. All alone, and a little jumpy whenever I heard scurrying, slithering and the multitude of other strange sounds in the undergrowth, I nonetheless trusted my compass and stayed true to the bearing I’d been given. After what seemed like an eternity, though it was probably no more than about ten minutes, I reached the stream. My confidence and faith grew a little with my success. I took the new bearing and set off again. Twenty minutes later I saw a blazing campfire ahead, and, quickening my pace, arrived to a welcome cup of hot-chocolate.

The task completed, I got on with the serious business of roasting marshmallows …

What is faith? It’s the bird that senses the light and sings to greet the dawn while it’s still dark. It’s getting packed into an aluminum tube with hundreds of other passengers and believing there’s enough thrust in the engines, enough fuel in the tanks, and enough lift in the wings to take you to your destination. It’s when the farmer ploughs the field, sows the seed, and waits for the crop to grow. When a pastor asks, “Do you take this woman, whose hand you hold, to be your lawful wedded wife?” it’s saying, “I do.” And it’s writing these words and me daring to think that someone might read them!

Faith. Without it, we’re paralyzed. Everyone needs faith. We can’t make it through life without it. So how’s your faith shaping up? In Hebrews 11 we read about the faith of Abel, Enoch, Noah and others. It was by faith that they accomplished great things with their lives. By faith …

Are you stepping out in faith? Are you putting your hand in the hand of the One you cannot see? “It is impossible to please God without faith …” Hebrews 11:6 (NLT). Do you want to please God? Then walk by faith and not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7).

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