Faith means believing what God says, no matter how unlikely or crazy it seems.
It means believing in the virgin birth. In people raised back to life. In dry bones turning into armies and stones gushing water. A donkey speaking. A river standing up into two writhing walls of water while a nation walks through. Water molecules transforming into the best wine anyone at the party had tasted. Blind eyes regaining sight and tax money materializing in the mouth of a fish.
The Bible is full of fantastical stories. Stories too good to be true—but that are true anyway. Many of us have grown up on these fantastical stories, and we accept them as truth. Distant, shouting down the hallways of the past, truth. A God-can-do-anything kind of truth. But not today. Not in this ordinary life. Not for me.
Why do we do that?
Have you ever wondered what it was like for the man born blind (see John 9)? He hears Jesus spit. Then he feels Jesus put mud on his eyes. I wonder, had people spat at him or thrown mud at him before? The Jews believed he was born blind because of sin, so it makes sense that they might have despised him, ridiculed him, ostracized him. What was it like when Jesus used spit and mud—reminders of the man’s humiliation—to invite him into healing? Did it offend him, sting in his heart, tempt him to run?
And then Jesus tells him to go wash in the Pool of Siloam. I wonder how far he had to walk, how many times he tripped and fell? Did he have to find his way on his own, or did someone help him? None of it made sense or seemed necessary, yet the blind man obeyed with blind faith, trusting that even spit and mud could heal him if Jesus said so. Imagine if the man had shrugged his shoulders, mumbled something about Jesus being crazy, and wiped his eyes clean right there.
I’m glad he didn’t. I’m glad he showed us what faith looks like—a blind walk or jump or stumble forward into the unlikely and ridiculous just because Jesus said so.
Here’s the thing about faith—it only exists in the unknown and unseen, in the space between promise and fulfillment. Hebrews 11:1 says, “Faith is being certain of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see” (NIV). In other words, we only get to have faith when we are like the blind man stumbling down the road toward the Pool of Siloam. Once he could see again, faith was unnecessary.
This, of course, is easy to talk about and harder to live. But when God invited us into the life of faith, He gave us the ability to trust Him and believe even His craziest promises. We can do it. He has made us able. This is how we please God, by believing that He is who He says He is and will do what He says He will do (see Heb. 11:6). To do this, it helps to be aware of the hurdles.
Offense always seeks to kill our faith. Maybe something triggers a wound in our hearts. Maybe God’s words seem unnecessary or illogical. Maybe we think we deserve better—or worse. Maybe we just don’t like what God is saying. If we allow offense to have a voice, it will always question God’s goodness and introduce doubt to His promises. Sometimes God introduces opportunities for offense because He wants to heal those offended places. He wants to free us from the wounds and the triggers—and the best way to do that is to gently put His finger on them, inviting us to step through offense into His love.
Disappointment can sneak into our lives when we have had faith to believe God’s promises, but we did not see the result we expected. In those moments, it is easy to blame God. We are tempted to stop believing Him for big things—or to stop believing in Him at all. Ultimately, disappointment questions God’s character (maybe He is capricious and uncaring) and His word (maybe He doesn’t do what the Bible says anymore). The only antidote for disappointment is trust. We do not always understand why things happen the way they do. Life is full of mystery. Faith trusts despite the unknowns; it embraces mystery as part of the journey. Faith knows that our circumstances don’t change God’s character—and He is always good.
Fear of what could happen or how we might look if we step out in faith seeks to squash the stirring of obedient faith in our hearts. Faith isn’t faith if it doesn’t involve risk. We always run the risk of looking foolish, of being misunderstood, of getting it completely wrong. But wouldn’t it be better to look foolish following Jesus than to never risk big with Him at all? In eternity, which choice will seem more foolish?
Fantastical faith isn’t just for the old stories and dead people. It’s for me and you. And it begins with a simple yes. Imagine what Jesus might do with your simple and unqualified yes.
Hearts healed. Limbs growing back before your eyes. Chicken dinners multiplied. Words of knowledge that avert a tragedy or change a nation. Families reunited and the homeless given homes. Solutions for problems and brilliant inventions. The exact amount of money you needed showing up in your wallet. Driving many miles on an empty tank. The end of cancer.
With Jesus, all things—crazy, fantastical, impossible things—are possible (see Matt. 19:26).