We are a people of faith. We might even say, strong faith. If someone were to ask us if we would ever falter in our faith, we would say no. That is what the apostles thought too.
Jesus dropped another bombshell. “This night all of you will have your faith in me shaken” (Mt 26:31a). All of you! You too, Peter. But Peter was confident (cocky?). “Though all may have their faith in you shaken, mine will never be.” (Mt 26:33). Then told by Jesus that he would deny him three times, Peter said, with even greater bravado, “Even though I should have to die with you, I will not deny you.” (Mt 26:35a). Famous last words. Soon you will be eating them, Peter.
We do have faith. But in truth our faith is shaken at times.
* When a loved one dies tragically.
* When many are lost in an earthquake or a storm.
* When despite our best efforts in serving Jesus, we seemingly fail.
* When despite our intense prayers and fasting, anti-family and anti-life laws are passed.
* When injustice and evil reign supreme.
Where is God in all these? Why is the love of an all-powerful God not being experienced? Why is God not rolling back the tsunami of evil that is overwhelming the whole world? Why is God not rolling back the stone to free us from death?
But isn’t that precisely what faith is about? It is trust and confidence in a loving God, despite what we experience around us. “Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen.” (Heb 11:1). If we already see it, and if we already experience what we hope for, then that is no longer faith. Faith is about what is unseen but real. Faith is about what one still hopes for but already knows to be true. Faith is trusting that no matter how things turn out on earth, we will enter into our eternal reward in heaven.
Faith in God is what Jesus showed while hanging on the cross, in the midst of the greatest agony and abandonment, as he prayed Psalm 22. “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me? …. For he has not spurned or disdained the misery of this poor wretch, did not turn away from me, but heard me when I cried out.” (v.2a,25). God has a purpose for everything that He allows to happen in our lives. “The generation to come will be told of the Lord, that they may proclaim to a people yet unborn the deliverance you have brought.” (v.32).
Let us never get cocky about our faith. But let us not despair if our faith gets shaken every now and then. Now let us humbly resolve, in dying to ourselves and in following in the footsteps of Jesus: “Even though I should have to die with you, I will not deny you.”
God bless you.