Faith Doesn’t Have to Be Loud

Christmas Tree Arch, Arches National Park, Utah
Christmas Tree Arch, Arches National Park, Utah

What does great faith in action look like?  The problem with trying to define faith is that we mostly see its outcome rather than what it looks like during the “in between” – the time between when the faith is planted and when what was believed comes to pass.  We see the child return home “their parents had great faith.”  We see the person healed – “your faith has made you well” (Luke 18:42).  We see God move – “their great faith opened the heavens.”  We define faith by its outcome rather than its action.

Above an unnamed waterfall below Santanoni Peak, Adirondack Park, New York
Above an unnamed waterfall below Santanoni Peak, Adirondack Park, New York

We also define faith as holding onto a belief.  For example, a ministry that wants to build a new office building might say that they “have faith” that they’ll get the necessary funds.  Or a family without income might trust God to get them the food and other necessities that they need.  (I recall hearing a true story about a family who was literally living by God’s provision while the dad was out of a job – the tween son started asking God for specific meals because he loved to see God answer his prayers, specifically, for everything from pork chops to homemade rolls!)  The most often-quoted “faith” is when a child is walking far from God – “I believe that s/he will return home.”

Crossing the Roaring Fork Lake outlet, Wind River Range, Wyoming
Crossing the Roaring Fork Lake outlet, Wind River Range, Wyoming

And so we also define faith as our hope for the future.  Sometimes it’s just that – hope.  But while hope is good and even vital to our lives, it can’t replace true faith.  Faith is, “the assurance of things hoped for” (Hebrews 11:1).  It’s confidence in what God has said – an assurance so deep that only believing a lie can shake our knowledge that it will become reality.

Wildflower on Rocky Knob, Blue Ridge Parkway, Virginia
Wildflower on Rocky Knob, Blue Ridge Parkway, Virginia

For example, let’s say that my apple tree is covered with apple blossoms.  As the spring turns to summer and then to fall, my thoughts aren’t worried that the tree might produce no apples at all, or that the tree will produce oranges.  I’ve seen the blossoms; I know without a doubt that there will be apples on that tree come fall.  I would have to believe a lie to begin to doubt and think that perhaps my apple tree will produce cherries this year.  The tree producing apples is a fact of life because I’ve seen the blossoms and know that the fruit will come.

Apple blossoms along Clarence Pathways, New York
Apple blossoms along Clarence Pathways, New York

In some ways, faith is similar – we know what God is doing, and so we have confident faith in what He is accomplishing.  Only believing a lie can shake this kind of faith.  We don’t have to push our agenda, or try to fulfill God’s will in our own strength, or shout that we’re right and everyone else is wrong.  It’s simply the truth and we live with that truth as our reality.

Lower Sandstone Falls, New River Gorge National Park, West Virginia
Lower Sandstone Falls, New River Gorge National Park, West Virginia

Sometimes I watch as people shout out what it is they have faith for.  For some of them, it’s a statement; a conviction; a beautiful confession.  Others shout louder and louder – either trying to convince themselves of their belief or else covering their unbelief (their fear of the opposite outcome) by the amount of noise they make.  I’m all for strengthening yourself in the Lord (1 Samuel 30:6) and reminding yourself of God’s goodness (Psalm 77:11-12); this increases faith.  But loudness doesn’t equal greater faith any more than changing a sign at the base of an apple tree makes it produce peaches.

Freshly-picked apricots in Capitol Reef National Park, Utah
Freshly-picked apricots in Capitol Reef National Park, Utah

Faith can be quiet – but it’s still great faith.  It’s far more important that we live by faith (Romans 1:17, etc.) than that we shout out how much faith we have (or want to have).  I’d rather have quiet assurance and confidence in God and what He will do than a platform to shout to the world something I hope might happen – if I have enough faith.  Speak out the things that God has spoken to you – but don’t feel like you have to say them loudly.  Even a whisper with assurance is great faith.

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