The steps of faith fall on the apparent void and find the rock beneath. If we let it work in us… A young man was climbing arduously a mountain. It was tough and steep. As he inched forward, suddenly he missed his hold and began to slip. Desperately, he grabbed a frail branch lodged in a crevice. If he lost his grip, he would fall thousands of feet to certain death. In his panic, he looked up and screamed, ‘God! God! If you are up there, help me now!’ And sure enough a thunderous voice came out from above and said, ‘You need faith if you want me to help you!’ ‘I have faith God, lots of faith, but please help me quickly!’ Then God said, ‘Then if you have faith, let go of the branch and you will slide gently to the ground there below.’ After a short consideration, the young man shouted, ‘Is there anyone else up there?’
Perhaps the best novel of A.J. Cronin, the Scottish novelist is The Keys of the Kingdom. It speaks of a young doctor who simply cannot believe in God. But he is a sensitive, compassionate person and he even goes to China to help the victims of a plague that has stricken the area. Eventually the doctor himself finds himself ill with the same disease. Even on his deathbed he remains an unbeliever. “Funny”, he said to a priest friend, “I still can’t believe in God.” The priests judiciously answer, “Does that matter now? God believes in you.” As someone put it, Faith is not merely your holding on to God – it is God holding on to you. He will not let you go!
Faith in God makes great optimists. Over in Burma, a missionary was lying in a stinking jail with thirty-two lbs. of chains on his ankles, his feet bound to a bamboo pole. A fellow prisoner said, “Preacher, what do you think now about the possibility of the conversion of the pagans here in Burma?” with a sneer on his face. His instant reply was, “The prospects now are just as bright as the promises of God.”
Faith carries the assurance that we shall never be alone. The initiation into adulthood in this tribe included one night on one’s own in the jungle. It was a test to one’s endurance. It was a very long night for this boy. Every leaf that fell, every branch that made a noise, every sound coming from the jungle startled him. But he could not and would not run away. There was no way he could sleep. He thought that morning would never come. But as all mornings do, it did come. And as his eyes started to get accustomed to the light, he was astonished to find, standing behind a tree near to him his father! He has been on duty all night. And his first reaction was, if I had known that he was there, I would have slept soundly!
Oswald Chambers in Run Today’s Race states “Faith for my deliverance is not faith in God. Faith means, whether I am visibly delivered or not, I will stick to my belief that God is love. There are some things only learned in a fiery furnace.”
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