The Invisible Chair
At our College and Career Bible study on Sunday night, my friend Brandon brought up a few questions about how we characterize faith. How do we view it? How does it work in our lives? And, maybe most importantly, how do we maintain faith when things don’t make sense?
A classic analogy that fits with discussions regarding faith is the idea of a chair. We have faith in a chair when we sit in it. We transfer our weight to it and we trust that it will hold us up. We can inspect the chair to see if it is trustworthy and then decide if it is reliable. In a lot of ways, our faith in God can be like this. We search the Scriptures. We get to know the character of God. We learn from past experiences that God is trustworthy and deserves to be relied upon. He can sustain us far better than any chair could.
But Brandon’s final question brings up an area in which the chair analogy falls short: what do we do when things don’t seem right? What do we do when God asks us to rely on Him in an area where He doesn’t appear so reliable? Or to put it in a better way, what if the chair is invisible? What if we can’t inspect it to determine if it can hold us? What if sitting down seems like the worst possible option?
We can easily see times where this comes into play. Sometimes God leads a person to leave their ideal situation for one that is much less desirable. Sometimes God leads a person from a safe environment into one that is dangerous. Sometimes God calls a loved one home at the worst possible time (as if there is a good time). Sometimes a relationship is destroyed and God isn’t quick to repair it. Jesus used the imagery of a cup. Sometimes the cup we are given by God has something sweet in it. Sometimes it is bitter. Sometimes the object of our faith is invisible.
Thankfully the Bible talks about the invisible chair. Hebrews 11 shows us that faith in God, while reasonable, is based upon the invisible. We cannot see God. We cannot test His structure. Our faith in Him is not based upon sight. 11:1, “Now faith is the… conviction of things not seen”; v3, “…What is seen was not made out of things that are visible”; v7, “Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen…”; v8, “Abraham…went out, not knowing where he was going”; vs13-16, “All of these died in faith…” without seeing what they hoped for; v27, “By faith (Moses) left Egypt, not being afraid of the anger of the king, for he endured as seeing Him who is invisible.”
Verse 27 states that Moses wasn’t afraid of the visible problem. The strength of his faith allowed for the same action as if he could see God face to face. Our faith is not without reason. It is not blind. We have evidence that God can take care of us regardless of the situation. However, the Object of our faith is invisible to us for a time. Let us strive to “endure as seeing Him who is invisible.”