Faith over fear. As we begin to resume school, church, and other once-commonplace activities after six months spent mostly at home because of coronavirus, the phrase seems to be everywhere.
Bright blue signs proclaiming “faith over fear: hope lives here” dot yards up and down my street as people broadcast their determination to live boldly and courageously in the face of illness and other calamity.
Indeed, being a Christian—a real Christian—requires a life of faith. Those who follow Jesus the Christ must have faith in words written long ago, in a man they’ve never met in the flesh, in a Creator God who often speaks in whispers. We must trust in the knowledge that one day, if we believe and change our hearts and lives, we will celebrate eternity in God’s holy Kingdom in heaven.
I do believe! But faith can be hard to explain, especially when it’s so obvious to us.
“Why do you believe? How do you know for sure all this ‘Jesus stuff’ is true?” someone asked me once.
“I just do.” The words rolled off my tongue so simply and easily I didn’t even have to think about it. “I feel it in my bones, in my core—it’s the truth.”
Truer words I’ve never spoken. Just like I know in my heart God created the world by design, and that eternity exists in a realm beyond this one, I know in the depths of all I am that God is real, that Jesus is His Son, that He is the path to heaven and the answer to all I ever seek.
But I also have faith rooted in my head, not just my heart. I believe the Bible—and not just because it’s written down and in a handsome hardcover format on my shelf, either. After all, I’m a writer. I’ve spent time in public relations and social philosophy. I know about propaganda—good and bad—and spent many years studying it and its impact on the world. I know how people can be swayed and influenced.
Yet the Bible is true. It’s not just some book “old rich men in power crafted to keep the masses in line,” as I’ve heard said. Copies upon copies exist, found tucked away and uncovered years later in places across the world, all backing up the originals. Other scholars have written about these same Bible stories. The research is there for those who must see to believe—and the words in the Bible are clear. I’ve read it a few times, and now I keep reading it from start to finish, over and over, just to stay rooted in the Word of God and improve my comprehension. Make no mistake:
“This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased,” God said about Jesus in Matthew 3:17 (NIV).
“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me,” Jesus said in John 14:6 about why we need to follow Him.
And faith moves mountains—literally. As Jesus said in Matthew 17:20, “Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”
I love the story, also in the Gospel of Matthew, about the two blind men who were seeking healing from Jesus.
As the story recounts in Matthew 9, Jesus went into a house, and two blind men approached him asking for mercy.
“Jesus said to them, ‘Do you believe I can do this?’ ‘Yes, Lord,’ they replied. Then Jesus touched their eyes and said, ‘It will happen for you just as you have believed.’ Their eyes were opened” (Matthew 9:27-33).
Jesus asks that same question of us today: Do you believe?
Some of us believe because we see. Some of us believe because that’s what we were taught, and who are we to argue? Still others believe because they have studied history, philosophy, and other accounts from biblical scholars and determined it is indeed true, that Jesus is the son of God who died for us to save us from our sins and provide the path to eternity.
It doesn’t much matter how we believe. What matters is that we believe.
Do you believe?