“So we do not lose heart. Even though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day. For this slight momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all measure, because we look not at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen; for what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal.”
— 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (NRSV)
Faith looks to believe in a promise that cannot be seen; a promise that will deliver infinitely and abundantly more than we could ever hope or dream for.
There are two characteristics of faith, here above, that are diametrically opposed: 1) the pure absurdity of faith in the eyes of the worldly, and 2) the sheer wonder of it, in what it produces as an investment regarding eternal riches, both here and away.
Faith must believe in the unseen. Faith must also believe in its inherent eternal worthiness in trusting God.
These things are important to the spiritually faithful. The reason being, their hope persists in resting upon faith, for faith is their only hope. And when faith is our only hope, we are hoping in the right direction, with all our resources, and we are focused purely on our obedience before God.
And the secret to this faith is not losing heart.
Living by faith is a knowledge against the prevailing power of reliance on the world. It goes the opposite way to depending on the world. It lives according to an invisible promise; the more invisible, the more biblical, the better.
Faith believes when the world would mock.
Faith believes the Spirit of God is the only Supreme Authority. It sees all other authorities under the direction of God. It therefore rests knowing that all things are in control, despite worldly evidence to the contrary.
In the exploration of such faith we determine the strength of hope even in the midst of suffering; indeed, our problems are the very cause of what goes to God as glory. And this is no big deal—apart from the awe we experience in being won to such a miracle of existence in God. We see the significance of our problems in revealing God’s glory through our mortal beings. We may even be inspired by our problems. The world may see that as absurd, but it is a charismatic type of absurdity; alluring in its manifestation.
Having become committed to such a faithful Deity as to be won most sure assuredly and certainly to the promise of all promises, beyond any shred of doubt, we do not lose heart.
That is the characterisation of our faith: that despite the ‘evidence’ of absurdity (in the world’s eyes) we can and do cling to the Good Hope; a hope that is most certainly coming; a hope that came in the Incarnation.
We believe upon Christ, and, in obeying God, we take on the death of Jesus in order that others are won to momentary and eternal life. We can, and do, willingly sacrifice our wills so God would achieve his will in the lives of our contemporaries. All this is a very great pleasure; to know such a love as to want to love for the sake of love.
Our faith in Christ is so persuasive, so beautifully commanding, that we find it a joy to obey. Such obedience of faith—where, we do not lose heart—is powering us to glory, both here in this life and also in eternity. This is the abundant life we are living. And who would not want it, knowing what it achieves?
© 2013 S. J. Wickham.