Friday, January 3, 2014

365 Days with God - Day 14: The difference between knowing & believing

I'm giving myself a challenge. Read the Bible each day for a whole year, following the ESV Study Guide 1-year plan. Each day, I will post whatever God has revealed to me in His Word, and how it is changing me. A friend of mine once said that nothing has changed her life as much as reading the bible each day - and I'm excited for how this will change me. Join me on an adventure into the heart of God - and day by day, we can learn more about who He is and what that means to us!

- Andy Catts

Day 14, January 3, 2014
Readings: Psalm 13, Genesis 14, 1 Chronicles 14, Luke 8:22-56

 At this moment, more than any time in history, we are a world that knows many things. We know details about infinitely small things like atoms. We know intricacies of other planets, and we are daily discovering new things. It was only a few hundred years ago that someone could be considered a "renaissance man" - someone who knew much about all the things of the world - math, science, arts, philosophy.

Nowadays that is impossible. The knowledge that we have is vast, the brainpower required to contain it has necessitated the invention of computers, and the increase in their power to bring us more and more knowledge. But for all our knowledge, intelligence and progress, we are lacking in an area that our forefathers excelled at: belief.

For in our society, we have come to accept that with our ever expanding knowledge, we never truly know anything. We are both blessed to be discovering new things constantly, and cursed in that we can never be grounded in infallible facts. And I believe that we need a solid foundation. Something that we can have faith in, something reliable. Something that we do not merely know with our minds, something that we believe with our hearts. That we base our reality on, and that defines our actions.

Jesus' disciples experienced the need for a belief such as this in a very real way, as they were faced with death:

One day, he got into a boat with his disciples, and he said to them, "Let us go across to the other side of the lake." So they set out, and as they sailed he fell asleep. And a windstorm came down on the lake, and they were filling with water and were in danger. And they went and woke him, saying "Master, Master, we are perishing!" And he awoke and rebuked the wind and the raging waves, and they ceased, and there was a calm. He said to them, "Where is your faith?" And they were afraid, and they marveled, saying to one another, "Who then is this, that he commands even winds and water, and they obey him?" (Luke 8:22-25)

Many of his disciples were fishermen on this very lake. All their lives, probably from birth, they had grown up sailing and battling nature in boats. They were experts, with knowledge of the sea. But as the wind and the waves grew, they knew they were overcome. They saw their lives ending, the way friends and family of theirs had probably ended - at the hands of a vicious storm. They were afraid.

At this point, they didn't have any more answers. Their knowledge and expertise had been exhausted. But rather than trusting Jesus (who was still sleeping) they awoke him in distress. Despite all that they had seen following Jesus - lepers, lame, blind healed, death defeated, they still questioned the truth of Jesus' authority and power. They were convinced that unless they woke him, he would sleep right through the storm - well, right up until they perished!

I don't know what they expected at this point. They awoke Jesus in a panic, as if a man who had defeated death, disease and demons would be afraid of a storm. Jesus rebukes the storm, and all becomes calm. And then he asks a simple question: "Where is your faith?" Where indeed? For all their head knowledge, for all the examples and miracles he had performed in their midst, when it came down to brass tacks, they had no faith, no belief, in their hearts. 

And aren't we the same? We gloss over God's provision, his blessings, his saving grace in our lives, knowing he is good in our heads, but never believing it in our hearts. Our faith is comprised of knowledge, but knowledge fails in the face of adversity. True faith comes from the heart. True belief knows the goodness and faithfulness of God no matter the situation.

When I face trials, tribulations, and even death, I want to have a heart-based faith. One that believes in God and what he's doing in and through me. And when I am rescued, I want to be thankful, resting in the truth of who God is.

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