As Christians, I know in many ways, we are waiting for our faith to be sight. We trust we will one day see with our eyes all of the promises that we now cling to by faith. We, like the hymn-writer, long for that day when our faith will be sight. But for now, we wait.
Over the past few years, I’ve been on a mission to study through the Old Testament. Even after many Bible classes in college, and a decent grasp of different theological concepts, I was ashamed that I really didn’t have a better understanding of the whole counsel of God. And more importantly, I knew I was missing a more complete knowledge of Christ since all the Scriptures testify of Him (John 5:39).
So, after one of the girls in our College and Career class explained to me how Pastor Ken suggested to shore up those weaknesses and set Bible study goals, I decided to get started. I knew it might take the rest of my life, but even if it did, it would be time well spent.
Starting in the Fall of 2008, I opened my Bible to Genesis 1. With a couple detours in between for a mini-study in Proverbs and reading the Bible through with our church, 3 1/2 years later, I’m nearing the mid-way point of Nehemiah.
I am seeing how Scripture fits together better and am finding the historical narratives fascinating. The biggest benefit though, has been the strengthening effect this study has had on my faith. We long for the dots to be connected between what we believe (our creed) and where we live (our conduct). A college professor used to tell us that faith, the evidence of what we can’t see, is the necessary link that connects the two.
So it makes sense then, that the Old Testament would serve to build our faith…to connect the dots, as it were. For it’s there we see God clearly explain a creed and prescribe a conduct and offer the promise of His provision, protection, and presence to His people as they seek to obey Him by faith in their world. It’s also there we meet person after person made of flesh and blood like us, faced with diverse trials and temptations like ours. We see some obey and many of them stumble and struggle and question and doubt and sin against Him and each other in appalling ways. But the hope-filled back drop of it all is that same faithful, covenant-keeping God we met at the very beginning who always does just what He said He’d do and who is always just what He said He’d be. The great “I Am” is in the background of every sin of disobedience and every triumph of obedience. We see Him keeping His promises to thousands of generations, tending to His people ever so gently and ever so fiercely, but always doing exactly what He should do. In my studies so far, I have never seen any injustice with Him. I’ve never seen Him abandon His children or be slack concerning His promises. I, like David, have never seen the righteous forsaken. But I have seen Him calm their fears, persevere in patience, repair their relationships, lead them day and night, keep them from their own way when it wasn’t best, and give them their way when there were lessons they needed to learn. I’ve seen Him take stuttering, fearful servants and show His greatness through them. I’ve even seen Him use the wickedness of sin and evil intentions of sinners for the good of His people and the furtherance of His worthy name. He has remained the same up to Nehemiah 5 and I’m not expecting Him to change in Nehemiah 6!
At times, I grow weary in doing good and am tempted to lose heart and doubt if He really is who He says He is. I wonder whether He can be trusted to do what is right by me. And in those times when my faith wavers, when He asks me to take that next step of obedience, I have Old Testament story after story coming to mind confirming that, “Yes, Erica! He is trustworthy. He will only do you good! He is too powerful to ever let you down. Don’t be afraid! You know He will never leave you. He will do exactly as He promised.” And in those moments, I really believe my eyes get a glimpse in the here and now of evidence I can see which strengthens my resolve to wait for what I can’t see…yet.