Sight for the Journey


Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. – Hebrews 11:1 [KJV]

Here’s a problem to solve. You leave Rancho Cucamonga, driving east at 62 mph. As you travel, you’ll listen to many local radio stations. How many times will you hear Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” on the radio before arriving at your destination?
Ponder this. Consider all the information you have. Have you come up with an answer?
It’s an unsolvable problem. Why? We don’t have enough information. We don’t know how many different radio stations ‘ll listen to, or where any particular song pops up in these broadcasters’ rotations. (My guess is “Don’t Stop Believing” will be heard about six times per state on average.)
The main piece of missing information: where we’re going. The problem doesn’t tell us our destination, or how far we will travel, or the route we will take. We may think know where we’re heading. In truth, we just don’t know the future with any degree of certainty.


Just like life.
Some of us have a plan for life. We set goals. We plot out a path. We travel along the road.
What we don’t see are the potholes. The detours. The breakdowns. The side trips. The fender benders. No matter how orderly and well planned our lives may seem, none of us know with absolute certainty what tomorrow – what the next second – may bring. We are speeding down the highway of life, oblivious to the hidden curve ahead.
To the oncoming car in the wrong lane.
Last week I was driving down a two-lane highway in rural Indiana. The sun was shining. The trip was going well. Just as I crested a hill, I hit a deer. I didn’t see him. By God’s grace, we were all okay. The car suffered some fender damage, but no one was hurt.

I hadn’t planned to hit a deer. It wasn’t in my itinerary. My plan had us arriving at our destination – without incident – in three hours from beginning our trip.

Within 45 minutes, that had all changed.

If we can’t navigate our way through life based on what we see and perceive, what do we do? How do we live? Ahhh… this is where faith comes in.

Faith – the reality of our hopes, the proof of the things we cannot see. We have to adjust our focus to see life through the lens of faith, not merely what we can figure out.

There are many differences between us and God. The main one is this:

He is sovereign.

We are not.

God is in control. Even when we cannot see it. Even when it makes no sense. Even when bad things happen.

Even when our life’s plan is trashed, our itinerary ruined.

When life runs into a ditch – and, believe me, it will at some point – we need to have the tools to get back on the road. Faith – knowing God has you in His hands and is running the show – is the key to living life.

Here are four simple steps that will help us develop eyes of faith:

1. Recognize the sovereignty of God in all things, macro and micro. Nobody gets elected without the Lord putting them in office. Nobody hits a deer without God knowing it was going to happen – and having a plan for dealing with the situation. Instead of trying to figure everything out, we need to understand God knows and is in control. He is omniscient (all-knowing), omnipotent (all-powerful) and omnipresent (everywhere at once).
2. Recognize the love and grace of God. God’s love is far greater than our mental capacity to measure it. God’s grace – His unmerited favor over us – reaches beyond what we can see. God loves you. He sent His Son to die to save each of us – to save you. You personally. Yes, the Lord loves you that much. He is a good, loving Father. You can do nothing – nothing – to lose that love.
3. Recognize the truth of God. He is the creator and sustainer of all. He is the One Who set the ultimate itinerary (a.k.a. God’s will). We have no need to twist ourselves into pretzels trying to figure out what He’s doing or why He let any particular event happen. God is God. He has a plan. And we are not necessarily privy to every detail of that plan. We are called to believe. Period.
4. Recognize who we are in God’s plan. We are flawed. We are sinful. We live in a sinful world. But, as followers of Jesus Christ, we are forgiven. We are loved. We are adopted children of our Heavenly Father. We are also part of a larger community, called to love, to serve, to help. We are not called to live in isolation. When bad things happen, we can be an inspiration to others through our faith.

Our life goes far beyond our own plans and schemes. The sooner we understand that God is the one running the show (not us), the better our lives will be. We will find peace and joy in the midst of anything we face.

Live with eyes of faith. Know you are deeply, deeply loved. And, whatever you do, don’t stop believing.

The Hardest Part (or Tom Petty: Theologian?)

Waiting can be awful.  Painful.  Gut wrenching.

Tom Petty was right: the waiting is (often) the hardest part – at least when it comes to faith.  We pray for healing that doesn’t seem to come.  We pray for financial situations to smooth out.  We pray for a wayward loved one to come to Christ and they seem to continue drifting further away.

We look to God for answers that aren’t always quick to arrive – at least not as quick as we’d like.  Yet, wait we must.

But we need not feel like waiting on God is an awful drudgery.

Wait with Praise

Save me, O God!
    For the waters have come up to my neck.
I sink in deep mire,
    where there is no foothold;
I have come into deep waters,
    and the flood sweeps over me.
I am weary with my crying out;
    my throat is parched.
My eyes grow dim
    with waiting for my God. – Psalm 69:1-3 [ESV]

David knew anxiety and trouble.  His enemies outnumbered and pursued him.  He feared for his very life.

And yet, through his troubles, David never lost faith in God.  He recognized that, even when he couldn’t sense the Lord’s presence, He was there.  God – as promised – was always with David.

He’s always with you, too.  In fact, it is a promise so big it appears twice, once in the Old Testament, once in the New: I will never leave you nor forsake you.  Do not fear or be dismayed (Deuteronomy 31:8b, Hebrews 13:5b, ESV).

Wait Fearlessly

Isaiah also knew his fair share of trouble.  But, through faith in God, he was able to proclaim:

Fear not, for I am with you;
    be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
    I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. – Isaiah 41:10 [ESV]

Isaiah was able to wait on the Lord without fear because God made him a promise – to strengthen and uphold him.  This promise is for us as well.  We can rest confidently in faith, knowing that – despite how things may look – God is, without a doubt, “our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1, ESV).

Wait Expectantly

Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. – Romans 8:24b-25 [ESV].

Waiting in faith means waiting expectantly, knowing that – although we do not yet see what we hope for – we who believe in Jesus are the recipients of “every good gift and every perfect gift (which) is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change” (James 1:17, ESV).

Just because you can’t physically see God’s promises doesn’t mean they are not true. Indeed, the truest realities in heaven and earth are those we receive from God through Jesus Christ and accept by faith. If God promised it, it will come!

Wait with Ever Strengthening Hope!

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the people of old received their commendation. By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible. – Hebrews 11:1-3 [ESV]

I do not know what you waiting for God to deliver you from.  I have no idea what you are praying for.  But, no matter what, God is with you.  And as we wait on the Lord, our strength grows.  Our joy abounds.  Not because we have what we think we desire, but because we see the Lord working in our lives, carrying us.

Even when we do not see it.

Especially when we do not see it.

So hang in there, dear friend.  Don’t lose heart.  Keep your gaze fixed on Jesus and wait for the Lord.  Find in Him your joy, your strength, your rest, your peace.

Remember, His grace is sufficient.

Also remember, by faith, David was able to finish the 69th Psalm as follows:

30 I will praise the name of God with a song;
I will magnify him with thanksgiving.
31 This will please the Lord more than an ox
or a bull with horns and hoofs.
32 When the humble see it they will be glad;
you who seek God, let your hearts revive.
33 For the Lord hears the needy
and does not despise his own people who are prisoners.
34 Let heaven and earth praise him,
the seas and everything that moves in them.
35 For God will save Zion
and build up the cities of Judah,
and people shall dwell there and possess it;
36 the offspring of his servants shall inherit it,
and those who love his name shall dwell in it.  – Psalm  69:30-36 [ESV]