Faith isn't faith unless it's backed by something that can't be proven. Right? Faith is something that allows us to believe in things unseen. It's trust without proof.
When the term is used in association with God, and it most always is when used intelligently, the world tells us it's risky. Believing in a Creator that exists outside of what can be proven is dangerous business, we hear.
It's much easier to rest on what we know.
But what if there really is a God who never asks us to have faith without proof? What if there is a God who proves himself constantly?
We do! Our Creator doesn't ask us to give him blind-faith trust. Faith is the EVIDENCE of things hoped for.
God gives us evidence.
I have hundreds of examples in my own life to draw from. You do too if you choose to be aware.
For example, I spend every weekday during the summer walking with friends at our high school track or around our local lake while our kids are at swim team practice. At one point several years ago, I decided I'd up the ante and run in addition to walking. Running was legit! I could burn more calories, get my heart rate up higher!
I could get my workout done in half the the time!
(When I wasn't enjoying the great talks with my friends and laughing so hard I had to slow down, or stop altogether, while we walked.)
I continued running by myself through the winter when my friends went back to work and our kids were no longer swimming at the pool. I'd run when the weather was blistering hot and when the temps dropped down near single digits. I was committed!
I felt pretty proud of myself.
And then my feet gave out. I developed a terrible case of what I came to know as a really ugly couple of words. Plantar fasciitis. Ugh. It hit suddenly and fiercely. My feet were in terrible shape. When my husband and I celebrated our anniversary in Cancun that December, I couldn't even walk the beach barefoot.
I returned to Kansas City and found a podiatrist. I did all the treatments he recommended, from injections to custom orthotics--everything until I was told it was time for surgery. And that's when it occurred to me that my faith was nothing unless I put it to the test.
So I walked out of that office, resolved never to return. I asked God to heal me completely.
He did. Years later, I am still amazed how easy that was and how great my feet feel.
But then my knees gave out.
First my right and then my left. The right was the worst of it. One day I felt the tendons in my right knee snap. It felt as though my knee simply dissolved. I couldn't put any weight on my leg and I certainly couldn't walk. I was so thankful that in my husband's travel absence my friend Roxanne was visiting from California and could assist me with making it home, as well as with getting the chores done on the farm. All of my kids had work or activities that kept them busy so I would have been in a bad way without her help. Without a pair of crutches handy, sliding down the stairs on my rear was the only way I could get back down to the main floor of our home after hopping up to my bedroom on one foot.
I was pitiful.
Of course I went to God again and asked him for complete healing, believing it was simply a matter of time before I was healed. Then, I put my knee up and iced it for a couple of days. I was back to the track a week later. My knee still hurt but I walked through the pain. Maybe I was crazy, but I believed my healing was wrapped up in my faith. I needed to believe I was in the process of being healed and walk there. Literally. For some reason, the story of Jesus telling a lame man to pick up his mat and walk kept coming to mind.
The more I walked, the better my knee felt. Soon, though my knee wasn't new, it was okay. I began to stretch more intently and it got even better. I could do all of the things I'd been able to do before. I went ice skating with my girls one day and did a few spins (I used to skate competitively so this wasn't so miraculous. Or maybe it was, all these years later.) Eventually, I had some trouble with my left knee as well, and it was healed too. That was miraculous!
That was last year. This year, I gave up running but I did increase my walking to an average of five miles a day. In May, I took a trip back home to California, where I hiked up a mountain and then back down, putting pressure on those knees all the while, without so much as a tingle. My knees were perfect. I didn't have an ache in them at all. Not before, during, or after our climb.
Coincidence? Nah. No way.
So last summer when my girls Rachel and Kelsea insisted I work with them as a barista at our local coffee shop, I agreed. Why not?
It's hard work. And we are on our feet a lot. I've heard our coworkers talk about sore backs, throbbing legs, and painful feet--this from people much younger than me. But I haven't felt those things. I'm tired alright and I sleep really well at night. Maybe I won't be doing this for too long, but maybe I will. Who knows? I can tell you one thing, however, I'm convinced I have a little supernatural help. Recently, I put in 16-hour days for a week, between working at the coffee shop and volunteering at church, and I felt amazing.
Listen, there are no coincidences. Not at all. If you dismiss the ways God heals, or the myriad ways in which He is always reaching out to you, you miss everything. He is constantly, incessantly, never tiring in making sure you understand Him.
I could write a book about all of the ways he has gotten my attention, healed me, loved on me, answered my prayers...(Oh, that's right, I have.)
He loves you.
He wants to be found by you. He's made himself available. He doesn't expect you to believe without some reward. Maybe it won't be your feet He'll heal, but I promise He will respond to your prayers with healing in some way. He loves to heal! What does it cost you not to try Him at His word?
I've heard it said that those who do not seek the truth at all costs are rarely disappointed. I would argue that it's those who seek the truth that are rarely disappointed. Good grief, the truth is, well, unbelievable, if you know what I mean!
Truth means a world of good, if one chooses to accept it.
I don't know what the future of my feet and knees will be, what with my figure skating and fitness training background. But I do know I will be relying on prayer every step of the way.
A little bit of faith leads to a whole lot more. A little step in trust leads to the top of mountains.
"But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind." ~ James 1:6 (ESV)