Now faith is the substance of things hoped for; the evidence of things not seen.
Substance and evidence are the strongest words we use in the English language for the tangible properties on subjects which may be elusive of definition. If we want to solve a mystery or win a court case we must have these elements or success is uncertain. This verse in the bible stands out the most of all in its quest to define our strongest motivation for every action we put forth in life. It goes a step further than we dare go. It asks us to put away logic and forge ahead when we see nothing ahead. It urges us to seek light in the darkest shadows. It brings us to places of answers although the path was only strewn with questions.
We often think of spiritual aspects of our lives as if it was only mist, vapor and wind. Anything which is not made of atoms- as we know them- must be relegated to the unknown, unseen and intangible. This is our world as we see it. As we read further in this chapter in Hebrews we are given examples such as Noah who was mocked while he was building the ark. Abraham wandered around with an enlarged family for many years because they were looking for a city already built, not quite understanding that they had indeed arrived and had taken possession but had not laid down the roots. Sarah conceived and bore a child when she was way past normal child bearing years and could not help but laugh when she realized what was happening. Joshua and Israel marched around the city of Jericho six times in six days and seven times on the seventh day, blowing trumpets and shofars. Along with the thirteenth encircling, they all shouted together and watched the thick curtain walls of the city literally tumble down. Without attacking this citadel to bring it down, they merely obeyed Joshua's instructions which were given to him by God. These are clear acts of biblical faith and there are many more instances, along the same lines, throughout old testament history concerning strong faith.
No other verse in the bible is so succinct as a definition of faith because it refutes our common sensibilities and asks us to believe despite how our physical realm persuades our minds. To the natural mind of man it is easier to doubt than to have faith but we all operate with a certain level of faith or we would not get out of our beds in the morning. There is common faith spoken of in Romans 12:3 but the verse above calls us to greater faith. In its highest and truest form it builds our spiritual character in such a way that we can exceed even our own expectations of ourselves in living a victorious Godly life. One does not have to be tested to build their faith in this way. They only have to be willing to put away their worldly attitudes and motivations and step into the realm of attaining possibilities.
Conversely, such great faith will not go untested because the natural life we live concurrently makes trials, hardships and even tragedy inevitable. A common error among the faithful is to assume that when you're suffering illness or experiencing seeming insurmountable difficulties that your faith is flagging. However, we need such strength to endure those times and eventually come through in the same way that strong faith helps us escape trouble altogether. Some may be delivered from death while others are enabled to die victoriously. After all, great faith involves a belief in a better place in the hereafter.
Jesus felt that even small amounts of faith were enough to move mountains ( Matthew 17:20) which alluded to endless possibilities. When faith is released into God's hands through prayer it galvanizes your faith into bonafide miracles. He becomes our source of growth and possibility because nothing is impossible to Him. Through the act of prayer and faith in those prayers our perspective becomes focused into a Godly perspective and our faith grows in proportion to that measure. The miraculous intervention itself is not the builder of faith but the prayer, which is in line with the Word of God, will build a momentous faith within yourself. Not only that, but the most wonderful payoff is that anyone who witnesses you using your faith and seeing miracles has a tremendous opportunity to live a life of faith, as well. Your children, family and co-workers will want to live a faithful life when they see it in action. Romans 10:17, James 2:17 & 18, 1 Tim 3:9
The Castle Lady
Faith goes beyond reason. It goes beyond what you can see.
But it is as real as anything you can touch or feel.
- Henry Cloud