As we begin a new year, we start with a clean slate and we wonder what life will have in store for us in the coming days. We are on a new journey of faith. In the great faith chapter of Hebrews we are led into a deeper understanding of a faith relationship with God. We cannot explain everything there is to know about God, about Christ’s incarnation, about the activity of the Holy Spirit, because the things of God are much higher than the things of humans. Faith means that we believe or trust in things we cannot see, but this gives us hope. The Scripture reminds us:
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Indeed, by faith our ancestors received approval. By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was made from things that are not visible. (Heb. 11:1-3, NRSV)
As the chapter progresses we are reminded of those who stepped out in faith. Those who have gone before us made faith decisions which brought them into the story of God. They, and we, have faith to believe that all we see was created by the hand of God — created out of nothing. This is the power of the word of God, experienced by those who step out in faith.
The Christmas break has been extraordinarily long in some parts of the country as they have encountered day after day of snow and ice and they remain frozen in their homes. I believe there are a few parents out there who are more than grateful that school has started up again! But as we step into this new year, we do step out in faith for none of us knows what this year will have in store. We cannot see into the future, therefore we cannot make decisions based on what we know will be. Instead, we step gingerly into 2017, possibly with a bit of trepidation, but mostly in faith.
Most of us like to believe that we have authority over what will be in our lives, and we may try really hard to remain in control. The reality is that we don’t have power over what will happen in the world. Learning to live in a relationship of trust and faith in God is actually quite freeing. The people listed in the great faith chapter stepped out in faith and followed God’s leading, even when it didn’t make sense to those around them. God’s vision and perspective is so much larger than ours that insisting on our own way may mean that we miss out on what God has in store for us.
Those who stepped out in faith knew how to listen to the still small voice of God. This is the only way that we can live by faith, for we need God’s guidance. As we begin this new year, I am challenged to slow down and create enough space for quiet listening. That’s not all that easy with all the noise that life brings. There is the distraction of all things technical! Seriously, between the television, computer, phone, iPad, etc., it’s hard to disconnect from all the interference and yet, if we are going to hear God’s voice and step out in faith, we need to be intentional about creating quiet space. Why? Because faith is trusting and hoping and having conviction in the things that we can’t see.
We cannot see all of 2017 and so we step out in faith. We will have faith in something, either ourselves, or other people, or we may choose to step out with faith in God. This year could become more than we could ever imagine if stepped out in faith in the Creator of all things. God isn’t revealing the future to us, God is only revealing God and that, for the person of faith, should be enough.
May you have a blessed 2017 as you take this journey of faith together with the Lord.