i know i’ve said this before, but just to reiterate: i hate cliches. even if a certain idea or phrase that turns into one is true (which it rarely is), its meaning is loss in its ubiquity and overuse. some of the world’s most profound thoughts have lost their meaning due to their popularity and misuse. ever say a word over and over to yourself until it becomes just a sound? that’s pretty much the idea.
now that i’ve gotten that out of the way, let me address what has become my least favorite (and possibly the least true) cliche of all time: the simple idea of “i know God exists because i have felt His Presence in my life.” the main problem i have with that sentence is the words i felt. just the idea of feeling or any use of the senses to justify faith is a contradiction in the most dangerous way. faith in itself is belief in something we have no evidence for. you cannot have faith that is dependent on what you have actually experienced because that negates the whole purpose of faith. if that is the case, you are just basing belief on what has already worked for you.
look at the people in the Bible we know had great faith: Abraham, the Centurion, and the sick woman. Abraham and Sarah were beyond their “Golden Years,” infertile, and more likely to have great-great grandkids of their own if they already had children, yet God told Abraham he would be the “Father of Many Nations.” how is it that this man fifty-year-olds would call “gramps” ended up being the patriarch of in fact two of the largest populations in the world? Abe had no idea, and had seen no evidence that God would come through, yet he believed simply for the sake of belief, and God did come through in a huge way.
the Centurion that we see in Luke 7 had perhaps the greatest hurdle faith could overcome: power. this was a Roman official with authority over a hundred men and probably a rich uncle or two (maybe not, but you catch my drift). he told his men ‘do’ and they did. yet, when his servant was sick, he knew he could do nothing and believed Christ could do at least something. not only that, he did not consider himself worthy enough to have Jesus in his house. he not only believed, but he knew Christ was powerful. this is exactly why Jesus regarded his faith greater than anyone in Israel.
imagine that you are ill in the worst way. you are constantly bleeding, unable to heal, and the doctors don’t have any idea why. what would you think if someone told you, “just go up to this person and touch your jacket, and you’ll stop bleeding.” how crazy does that sound? well, who ever said crazy was a bad thing? that’s how i describe the sick woman of Luke 8’s faith: crazy. she believed that if she could only get close to Jesus and somehow touch his garments, that she would be fine, and that faith healed her. now, in both this and the case of the Centurion, you can imagine that they heard about Jesus and all He had done, and that’s why they believed. this is plausible. but how many others also heard and even witnessed Jesus’ miracles and didn’t believed. those who lack faith can always come up with the greatest cop-outs: “it was staged,” “he had medicine up his sleeve,” “all these people are liars.” there are tons of ways to say, it isn’t real and i don’t believe. but, there is only one way to accept these things and that is faith.
take a step back real quick and look at these examples. one thing that i’ve noticed is that faith always comes first. these miraculous events do not precede faith, they follow it. these people of great faith did not base their faith on anything substantial or even tangible. they simply believed in what they had no evidence for. that is Faith.