Faith is the channel through which we receive the blessings of God designed for his children. “By grace ... through faith” is the way Paul said it in his letter to the Ephesians (2:8). While it is true that “... he makes his sun rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the just and the unjust” (Matthew 5:45), the Lord blesses those who love him in spiritual ways reserved for them alone.
Faith is designed to protect us in times or difficulty. It won’t necessarily keep us out of trouble, but it can protect us when trouble comes our way.
The Bible tells us faith involves “the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” (Heb. 11:1) A blind person must depend on evidence confirmed by his other senses to survive. He can’t see where he is going, but his ears can help him know whether a car is coming or not! We can’t always “see” how God will help us through a difficult situation, but we can know of his love and care for us, and trust — have faith — that he will continue to bring about that which is best.
Look at Genesis 50:20. How could Joseph really believe that his betrayal at the hands of his brothers was for the best? Why, through his faith! Not blind, grudging acceptance, but trusting, joyful confidence in the historically proven dependability of God’s will!
“And without faith it is impossible lo please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) This passage tells us that Biblical faith has two aspects.
First, most people have little trouble believing in the existence of a supreme being. It’s natural! Paul wrote that “...what can be known about God is plain..., because God has shown it.... For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made.” (Romans 1:18-20) The psalmist David said that “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. (Psalm 19:1)
Second, faith which trusts God is something more. It involves commitment and implies dedication to God and his will. Many have a great of deal of trouble giving this kind of devotion to anyone other than Self. This is why some have difficulty trusting in God’s care when hardship raises its head. But when we learn to let go of dependence on ourselves, we will be able to take hold of God’s hand. We will be able, with the apostle Paul, to have confidence in the promise of God that “whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.” (Rom. 9:33)
Gospel music writers T. O. Chisholm and L.O. Sanderson combined in the 1930s to encourage this kind of trust with their beloved “Be with Me, Lord.” Verse three implores,
Be with me, Lord! No other gift or blessing
Thou couldst bestow could with this one compare —
A constant sense of Thy abiding presence,
Where ’er l am, to feel that Thou art near.