As I speed along the freeway with my wife and daughters in our minivan, I contemplate how much faith is on display all around me.
It seems that a busy two-way street is one of the most faith-filled places on the planet earth! Think about it: We willingly strap our fragile, corporeal frames into a two-ton metal box. Then, using a mechanism that harnesses the power of controlled gasoline-fume explosions, we accelerate ourselves to speeds faster than the fleetest bird can fly. Not only that, but we rush about at these ridiculous speeds while, at the same time, other multi-ton metal boxes are hurtled in the opposite direction, passing us by mere inches! And, in most cases, the only physical barrier erected between the two traffic directions is a thin stripe of yellow reflective paint, not even three-eighths of an inch tall! It’s amazing!
What mighty force enables us to overcome our innate and powerful sense of self-preservation and to subject ourselves to the risk of death and dismemberment at the hands of a thousand other human beings whom we have never met? Faith.
You see, since infancy most of us have been strapped into those metal boxes. We grew up watching the world go by at speeds that would have caused our great-great-great grandfathers to faint in fear. As small children we would stick our little hands out the open windows and feel the force of the rushing wind against our skin. By the time we were sixteen we could hardly wait to strap ourselves in behind the controls of that hurtling metal box!
Years pass and time and miles sweep by with nothing too serious happening to us. We continue to arrive safely at destination after destination and our faith in the dependability of the equipment and the trustworthiness of other unnamed drivers grows and grows. Occasionally we may be involved in an accident and our faith may be shaken, perhaps even tested. But the vast majority of us get back behind the wheel in no time at all.
God and Engines
The only difference between faith in automobile travel and faith in God is this: God will never fail us. Engines break down, tires spring leaks, and other drivers make mistakes, intentionally or otherwise. But God will never fail us. He will never run out of power. He will never fall asleep at the wheel or make an error of judgment.
How many people willingly place their lives in the hands of numerous strangers with whom they share the busy streets, yet they refuse to put their trust in a God they can’t see? Even more, how often do I grow panicky about the circumstances and challenges that I face and proceed to wrest control of my life from God’s hands? How often do I become full of myself and my own “wisdom” and cease to seek God’s direction about the decisions that confront me? How often do I refuse to obey God, refuse to step out in faith in some area of my life, out of fear of the great unknown “what if”?
Faith isn’t hard, complicated, or even mysterious.
Faith is born of obedience and practice. Trusting God’s Word, obeying His voice, seeing Him come through, and being willing to obey in something bigger the next time, builds faith.
If only there were as much faith in the pews of our churches as there is on the pavement of our cities.
“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2, NIV).