Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: (For we walk by faith, not by sight:) We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. (2Co 5:6-8, emphasis mine)
This verse has taken on a whole new meaning in my life over this past year. My desire has greatly increased to be absent from my body and present with the Lord. However, the fulfillment of that desire will be determined based on God’s will and timing and not mine.
I have never walked by faith this deeply before. I’ve had to trust the Lord through some trials in my life, usually brought about by my own sinful choices. However, I’ve never been handed quite a test where I’ve had to journey solely by faith, without seeing the physical evidence of the object of my trust. I can’t see into Heaven to see Jesus and my son who has gone on before me. I have to trust in the unseen. Even though death has won this battle here on earth, I have to believe that, through Jesus Christ, eternal life and victory in Heaven is available to everyone who believes.
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. (Heb 11:1, emphasis mine)
Sometimes I envy others who experience the visual, audible, tangible or even evidently miraculous manifestations of God. I assume that they are absolutely certain of His voice or appearance. However, God doesn’t normally speak to me in an audible voice or through visions, dreams, prophecies, etc. He primarily speaks to me deep in my heart, with His still small voice (I assume that He knows what’s best for me and what form of communication suits my gifting and personality). Sometimes I question the source of that voice and ask “was that really the Holy Spirit or just my own thought?” I have to exercise a lot of faith to believe that it is God speaking to me. He not only calls me to have faith but then also gives me the strength to exercise it. My faith then serves as the evidence that God exists and is relational.
How do I know when it is God’s voice? Whatever I hear must not contradict His written Word. If any voice calls me to disobey the Scriptures, it is not from God! If the voice urges me to seek my own glory and not God’s, then it is not from Him. If the voice condemns me to hopelessness, it is not from God. A lot of times the voice convicts me of a sinful thought or attitude, leading me to the cross where my sin is forgiven and then to repent towards God. As I think about what the Holy Spirit might say to me, I turn to Jesus’ own words about the Spirit:
Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: Of sin, because they believe not on me; Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged. I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you. (Joh 16:7-15)
Lately, His voice is providing us with comfort. He is reminding us of His love; the sufficiency of His grace; the complete payment for sins that Christ made on the cross; His goodness and mercy; that we have eternal rewards waiting in Heaven if we hold fast; that His children are here to comfort and help us; and that we cannot always see what is real. He is calling us to walk in a deeper level of faith.
As I wrote this post, I was reminded of two songs by Jeremy Camp. These songs were from his album titled Stay. The lyrics to most of the album’s songs were inspired from Jeremy’s journey through the illness and death of his first wife. Two of those remarkable songs are “Walk by Faith” and “I Still Believe”, both of which declare having faith and believing in God even when we don’t understand the circumstances of our life. I hope that you are learning to walk by faith no matter what circumstances you are facing in your life.