Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good testimony.
When I got born again so many years ago, Faith was such a fascinating phenomenon. It seemed so simple yet so difficult. It’s easy to listen to a sermon on faith. It is even exciting. However, when you have to faith healing from a terminal disease or your rent is due tomorrow and you are in faith or you need an opportunity that a million other people also want, then you understand why faith is not easy.
I could not take my time to understand faith. I learnt it on the job. I did not have the luxury of being able to understand faith fully before living by it. At the time I got saved, my father was upset with me. I just got into MBA school and he refused to give me pocket money. I bless God he paid the fees but nothing for pocket money. I learnt faith for survival on the job.
One of my first faith moves was just after MBA school. I had just got a job and needed a pair of shoes for my new job. The only pair of shoes I had left were in terrible shape. I tried to get a loan from friends but no one was forthcoming. In fact, one of my mentors at the time told me not to take a loan but trust God for my shoes.
I was in a bit of a dilemma. Does God bother with such things as a pair of shoes for his child? I did not have much choice but to wait for Him since all my efforts failed. I had to live by faith. I actually had to start work wearing my old horrible looking pair of shoes. It was embarrassing but I had no choice.
After a few days at work, it was my birthday. My best friend from secondary school sent me a card from Germany. The card came by normal Nigerian Nipost. She sent it to me through my Father’s office. He came home one day with an envelope for me. A card from my friend. I opened it and there was DM20 in it. By the time I changed it, I had just enough to buy my first work shoes.
If I begin to write all my faith moves, I would write loads and loads of books. I have found that by faith we indeed obtain a good testimony. In everyday language, faith simply means to take God at His word. It means that in every situation, God is your first port of call. In the story I had tried a couple of things which failed which is why I turned to trust God, but He had it all worked out. For me to get that money at the time I did, my friend would have had to send it long before then. That had to be God working ahead of my need.
What makes faith so difficult to accept is it’s simplicity. How can something so seemingly small give me so much. Faith asks one question. What does God say about this? Once you know what God says, you work with it and expect results simply because you work with it. You simply trust that God will not mess you up.
For a lot of believers, faith is a last option. It is never the first option. We run to borrow money until we are turned back or become yoked in financial debt. Then we turn to the Provider. Or we run to the doctor at the slightest sign of a problem, until you find out the disease is terminal, then we run to the Healer. Or we need direction, we go to everyone but the Counsellor who has been given to us to direct us. The list is endless.
I check myself and I discover that my decision to live by faith is also borne out of having been bitten a few times. I lost my first child. I had a check in my spirit as the doctor examined her and gave medications. Remember I was already a faith person, but I chose to trust her medical skills because there was a baby involved. Apparently, she did not have enough skills to deal with the situation that day. The child died. God could still have acted in the situation but she died. Since then the doctor is always my last resort. Most of the time, I don’t need to go to them. Please don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against doctors, I am just trying to encourage us to take the God option before others.
My oldest daughter was talking with her friends in school. She could not remember the last time she had seen a doctor. Her report, ‘by the time my Mummy prays, there is usually no need for the doctor’. She came home to tell me about this discussion.
Someone may say, my faith cannot handle this or that, but you will be surprised what your faith can handle when it is truly tested. The Bible summarises what it enabled mere men and women to achieve in the later verses of chapter 11. ‘They subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouth of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became violent in battle, turned to flight the armies of the aliens,’ all through faith.
What this tells me is that with faith nothing is impossible. I can have anything my heart is able to create. Sometimes we start the creation in our hearts but we don’t finish. So faith cannot bring it to fruition because it is not complete in our hearts, or it is not important enough in our hearts. By and by faith works.
So for the next few weeks, I have faith on my mind. I read through the Bible and find excitement from all the faith stories. David, Gideon, Ruth, Esther, all the nameless people who came in contact with Jesus. They could be anybody, you and I. The question we must ask ourselves is, how far do I want to go with God? In making the decision as to how far you want to go, remember that the only way to get the best out of Him is through faith. That is what pleases Him. The extent to which you exercise faith is the extent to which you will enjoy what God only can give.
I asked the Lord, ‘why do I experience so much of Your goodness? Why does it seem like I am singled out for Your goodness?’ And He said to me, ‘It is the extent to which you allow Me into your life that I can show My goodness’. It made sense.
For me, when I got born again, I had nothing. Not pedigree, not money, not connections, nothing. I had an education but I had come to understand that without the other three, it did not mean much. In short, I had nothing. I was being rejected and I had nothing. That day, I knew deep in my heart, that my life had started afresh. I saw new possibilities. I wanted to be a successful person. I wanted family badly-husband and kids, I wanted a life of influence. They all became possible that day. I was no longer unsure of my future.
I still have portions of that dream to fill out, but largely, I can safely say that the process that began many years ago is still on. I am getting closer and closer to the full picture. It has been by faith-not reluctant, last resort faith but by following closely after God. It has been worth it.
Please stay with me as we go on this journey of faith in the weeks to come. You will be glad you did. God bless. Ck