In part one of a four-part series on finding strength in faith, Rev. Lisa Yebuah of the Southeast Table in Raleigh, NC, shares how having faith is an act of extreme courage — and how that provides inspiration for facing life's challenges.
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. 2 Indeed, by faith our ancestors received approval.3 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
... 8 By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to set out for a place that he was to receive as an inheritance; and he set out, not knowing where he was going. 9 By faith he stayed for a time in the land he had been promised, as in a foreign land, living in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. 10 For he looked forward to the city that has foundations, whose architect and builder is God. 11 By faith he received power of procreation, even though he was too old—and Sarah herself was barren—because he considered him faithful who had promised. 12 Therefore from one person, and this one as good as dead, descendants were born, “as many as the stars of heaven and as the innumerable grains of sand by the seashore.” 13 All of these died in faith without having received the promises, but from a distance they saw and greeted them. They confessed that they were strangers and foreigners on the earth, 14 for people who speak in this way make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. 15 If they had been thinking of the land that they had left behind, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; indeed, he has prepared a city for them.
We often frame faith as some ethereal notion. But honestly, you have to be baller to believe, especially when you haven’t seen things you want in life come to pass. When someone feels called to companionship and with each passing year they find themselves not partnered — but you don’t close off your heart — faith is more than a concept. When a person has experienced a string of miscarriages and they still imagine a nursery - faith is more than a concept. When someone has been given a difficult diagnosis and that person still maintains a level of hope that they’ll be well again — faith is more than a concept.
I’d dare say having faith takes courage. It takes courage to still believe life circumstances will change when we’ve been consistently disappointed. It takes courage to have faith when the evidence has been stacked up against us. It takes courage to trust even when the odds are not in our favor or when we’re uncertain about a way forward. And when our response is that we won’t stop believing — that’s not pie in the sky thinking. It’s bold faith.
So let’s not minimize the strength and courage we exhibit when life thrusts us in those in-between spaces — those spaces between what we hope for and what we have not yet seen or experienced. Faith, as I understand it within the Christian tradition, isn’t necessarily a “seeing is believing,” way of being, but instead it’s trusting in better and new realities even when they’re not apparent to us just yet.