Several years ago, my marriage was not a beautiful picture. In fact, lots of arguments, followed by weeks of extended silent treatments, were the norm for my life. I could see a layer of tension settle like dust after each fight. We were in an unhealthy cycle of pretending everything was ok for a few weeks, then we would plunge right back into the fighting, and then the silence again. I felt like my life was out of control. The weight of the stress made me feel like I had the entire earth on my shoulders. Just to walk across the street took so much effort because of the toll that this lifestyle was taking on me. So I prayed a simple prayer, "Help." That was the entire prayer. I had learned lots of fancy prayers in my lifetime, but those really didn't make a difference in my life. It was all I could do just to get that one word out of my lips, but it was enough.
I was lying on my bed crying and feeling hopeless when I prayed that prayer. God whispered to my heart that things would get better. He put his arms around me and told me to give Him all of my troubles. So, I did. I felt the weight lift off of my shoulders and I had a picture in my mind of Jesus standing above me with a huge trash can just throwing it all away. Then I felt his arms around me. I felt peace for the first time in years.
Things didn't get better right away, but I held on to the promise God had whispered to me that things would get better. I knew it just as much as I know right now that I am sitting on a couch holding my laptop. It was real, I had no doubt.
Now faith is the substance
of things hoped for,
the evidence of things not seen.
You may have heard this verse before. I had heard it many times before, but when I went through this experience, this verse became very real to me. Faith as substance is a hard concept to grasp. Something that has substance in the natural world is usually something that you can touch or see. You can hold it, measure it, or examine it. Faith is something that you can't see or touch. Faith is kind of like a feeling, but so much more than that.
Faith is knowing something is true no matter what the circumstances around you are telling you. It isn't just hope, it is the solid evidence that is created when God himself speaks to you. It is the substance of things hoped for. Just like the evidence in a trial is something the jury can see with their own eyes, faith gives your spirit eyes too see what God has said to be true.
I can hope for rain, but I don't really know if it is going to rain. The 6 o'clock news can tell me that there is a 60% chance that it could rain. But I will not know for sure until I feel rain drops on my face, or see them from my window. Faith is more than just hope alone. It is the evidence that what you hoped will come to pass.
I waited for about three years for God's promise to come to pass in my life. I was able to wait because I had evidence that what I hoped for (a better marriage) was going to happen because God told me. Christian faith begins when you learn how to see God's truth instead of your circumstance. One way to see God's truth is to hear it whispered to your heart like I did when I prayed. But that is not the only way; you can read about God's promises in the Bible, or by talking to someone that you know has a good relationship with Jesus. What it all comes down to is trusting Him with your life. Let it all go, into His hands, and He will give you peace. Have faith that God will always do what he says he will do.