Faith is being sure of what we hope for, and certain of what we do not see.

Hebrews 11:1. Sounds just lovely. But what does it actually mean?

This entire chapter of Hebrews goes on to explain what it is to have certain hope in something unseen. Not in point-by-point theology, but in stories. Story after story of people, just like you and I, who chose to believe God in their lives – and what this amazing God did as He inhabited their active faith. They are stories of creation, of sacrifice, of bypassing death, of clear-sky boat building and family-rescue, of impossible pregnancy and unknown voyages to new lands, of a child hidden and saved from genocide, of city walls crumbling without being touched, of surviving wild beasts unscathed, of great waters parting, of entire people groups being saved and set free. On,and on, and on.

We are God’s ongoing story. The visible marks of his goodness and power; promises hoped for and fulfilled. Our faith is where we make our home as we wait for Him to do what only He can do. It is the place of anticipation where our dreams are planted in the most fertile place of all – in Him. It is the place of confident hope where we can stand on our tiptoes, knowing He is already up to something amazing – even when we can’t yet see it with our eyes.

This blog is full of the smaller stories that together are my Big Story. Because somehow God is entirely macro and micro all at the same time. And His promises are worked out as much day by day as they are in leaps and bounds. The very great small moments can often rival the great headline events.

How important is faith, really?

In this chapter, he also says,

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

The Message version says it this way, ‘Because anyone who wants to approach God must believe both that he exists and that he cares enough to respond to those who seek him.’

So it’s not just unlikely, but impossible to please God without faith. And yet that faith is not just about belief that He is, but belief in who He is. That He truly is engaged and interactive and cares enough to respond. That He can, that He will. Sometimes, especially in the midst of loss and destruction and all that we can’t see with our eyes – this can be the hardest part to actually grasp.

Which is where I return to stories. Hearing what He has already done or is doing for others can stir up that deepest place of faith in each of us. I’m sure it is one reason why Jesus himself was such an avid storyteller! And sometimes that stirring is enough to begin stepping out enough to talk to him ourselves, to engage him on an individual level with our own mountains and impossibilities. Even to present him with what little mustard seed of faith we have, and ask him to grow it.

And he will.