We put our faith in the strangest things sometimes. Have you ever ignored the facts about a situation in favor of your faith in it? Let me show you what I mean. You may know the relationship with your significant other or long-time friend is toxic, but you ignore all the alarm bells because of your faith in that person’s potential. Your favorite sports team may have never proven they can win anything. Still, you ignore all that disappointing history at the beginning of the season because your faith this offseason magically changed everything. You know a political candidate has had some shady dealings in the past, but you vote for them anyway because of their catchy slogan. You see reports of automobile, airplane, boating, and rollercoaster accidents, yet you find yourself placing your faith in them anyway.
The average person chooses faith over facts just as much as they choose facts over faith. If we were to say it another way—people decide with their hearts just as much as they choose with their heads. If this were not true, we wouldn’t have phrases like “I just have a good feeling about it.” However, there is one part of our lives where this willingness to abide in faith is not enough for some reason. Ironically, it is when we are asked to put our faith in God. Faith still comes up short in the one part of our lives where the facts are overwhelming.
When it comes to putting faith in God, you hear statements like these: “Why wouldn’t God just come down here and prove Himself if He were real? All He would have to do is speak to me or reveal Himself somehow, and I would believe.” The problem with these statements is that He already did come down and prove Himself. He already did speak and revealed Himself to us. It wasn’t enough for the people who witnessed it then, and it wouldn’t be enough now. That is because faith must be stronger than just the facts. It wasn’t enough for the Israelites when God plagued Egypt, parted the Red Sea, miraculously fed them daily, and defeated all their enemies for them. It wasn’t enough for the Pharisees who saw Jesus perform miracle after miracle and watched Him prove Himself repeatedly. Faith wasn’t sufficient even when they had allllllll the facts possible available to them.
Let me make something very clear: I am not insinuating that faith in God is without any facts, logic, or reason. There is more abundant evidence to believe in God than to believe in absolutely any other facet of life. However, the truest and purest form of faith is having immovable belief with or without evidence. The writer of Hebrews says in Hebrews 11:1, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Our belief in God must be rooted in hope, not in evidence.
I love Christian evidences and apologetics, and I love when archaeologists find even more evidence to add to the overwhelming proof of the existence of God. The people who devote their lives to these findings do incredible things for those with doubts. But if my faith also depends on those discoveries, I may not have had faith to begin with. Faith is supposed to be independent of evidence. If you are already a follower of Christ, the evidence out there should only affirm what you already believed, not create a newfound belief.
Jesus knew it wouldn’t be easy for people like you and me who never beheld His glory or His earthly ministry with our own two eyes. After Jesus relieved the Apostle Thomas of his post-resurrection doubts, He said this in John 20:29, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” Jesus was talking about followers willing to place their faith in Him above their inability to touch Him, see Him, or hear Him for themselves. Was He talking about you? If they never find another shred of empirical evidence for the existence of God, would your faith alone be enough to sustain you?
The Apostle Paul said it this way to the church in Corinth in 2 Corinthians 5:7, “For we walk by faith, not by sight.” When life gets difficult… when tragedy strikes… when it is difficult to put one foot in front of the other… Paul is saying it is FAITH that pushes us through, not sight. The hope and the belief that there is something greater in store for us in the next life allows us to get through this one. Sadly, many get this backward. They choose to walk by sight and not by faith. When we place facts over faith, the facts will never truly be enough. That is because faith ultimately comes down to a choice. We must choose whether we believe in God based on the evidence we have right here and now.
So, two groups need to hear this today. If you are waiting for more evidence and proof to become a Christian, I’m sorry, but at the end of the day, Christianity is a choice to place your belief in Someone you have never seen, heard, or felt for yourself. At some point, you will have to decide whether to choose faith or not. If you are a Christian, but you have stopped walking by faith and are operating only on sight, I’m sorry… but you may have forgotten what it means to be a Christian, to begin with. Thanks be to God that because of who He is… we get to have faith stronger than facts.
-Ben Hogan, Minister of Evangelism