"Faith is..." seems such a simple statement to complete. It seems that statement's ending should be as simple as its beginning.

Ask a Christian who was abandoned as a child, or who was abandoned as an adult, or who feels abandoned now, to complete that statement.

Ask a Christian who is a recovering alcoholic, or who is in the middle of recovering from substance abuse, or who fights addiction to materialism, to complete that statement.

Ask a Christian who has lost his or her job, or who has lost his or her business, or who dedicated years to a company that just "closed down," to complete that statement.

Ask a Christian whose life is being destroyed by incurable disease, or who daily endures severe disability, or who lost abilities in a tragic accident, to complete that statement.

Ask a Christian who is lonely, or who is deeply troubled, or who is struggling in the diligent effort "to make sense of what happened," to complete that statement.

Ask a Christian for whom life is good, or who sees and acknowledges incredible blessings, or whose life has "fallen into place" recently, to complete that statement.

Will they all complete the statement with similar endings? No. Faith has many legitimate facets. Faith is like an expensive, exquisitely cut diamond. What you see is real. However, what you see depends on your angle of vision and the lighting. When we look at faith, what we see depends on our angle of vision and the lighting.

The message was devastating. God's punishment was inescapable. Jerusalem would become ruins. The temple would be destroyed. Many Israelites would die. Survivors would be captives. Nothing could prevent this. Then came an astounding message. God promised the Israelites they would come home. The same prophet who delivered God's "bad news" was instructed to "comfort my people" (Isaiah 40:1).

Among Isaiah's encouragement was this: Yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary (Isaiah 40:31).

It all happened. Jerusalem fell. Babylonian captivity became reality. Israelites, in time and after repentance, could return home.

Sometimes faith is ... waiting for the Lord. Waiting is God's most difficult expectation. Waiting takes our highest level of trust. Fear attacks faith and waiting. It is easier to fear than to trust.

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 4 February 2001

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