These are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. John 20:31
Understanding and belief are different. Belief is the acceptance that something is true without proof. Belief is faith and offers understanding with legs on. Faith carries us somewhere, whilst understanding leaves us motionless. The first disciples understood Jesus as risen, they had tangible evidence, yet they needed the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, born of obedience and prayer, to believe. (Acts 2; 27)
Indeed belief with legs marked out the Old Testament heroes who had no such encounter with the risen Christ, yet obediently responded to God’s word. Noah built an ark in a sunbaked land, whilst Abraham left home for an unknown destination. (Hebrews 11)
Encounter with God is less about understanding than putting one’s life at God’s disposal. It takes courage to live off a promise; yet a promise is all we have. When Jayne entered hospital with Covid-19 in March, she looked back to say goodbye, but I’d already been ushered away. Then her phone was taken from her for fear of infection, placed in a sealed bag and stored. She remembers thinking, ‘I may never leave here or see Micha again’. She knew she had a choice.
She could be consumed with fear or continue into the unknown with God. After all doesn’t God work all things together for good for those who love and are called according to God’s purpose? (Romans 8:28) She made her choice, and even as she saw people emerge from behind curtains, intubated on trolleys, she chose to hang her hat on the promises of God.
Life or death, everything was in God’s hands. ‘Fear not, for I am with you’, sounded in her spirit and she began a long afternoon of tests. (Matthew 28:20) Scripture tells us faith comes by hearing. This is always that still, small voice of God. (1 Kings 19:11-14) Without it there will always remain a great disconnect between our understanding and belief.
Something to Consider: How do I understand the difference between understanding and belief?
An Action to Take: Purchase a copy of Bible 60 and discover key turning points in the story of God and His people and the part you can play in God’s story today: edwj.org/ma21-11apr
A Prayer to Make: ‘Lord, help me to learn how to live by faith and not by sight.’
Micha Jazz is Director of Resources at Waverley Abbey, UK.
Photo by Julia Florczak on Unsplash
Used with Permission