“Independent Blind Society”
I was in Dubuque, Iowa when I saw this sign and it made me laugh right out loud. All I pictured was Jesus’ words about the blind leading the blind.
That was until I thought about 2 Corinthians 5:7“We walk by faith, not by sight” – “Porque por fe andamos, no por vista”, and started to think about what it really meant to walk without sight. This has been one of my favourite verses since I went on a missions trip when I was 17, but I don’t think I ever understood it. The leader of our trip to Mexico City kept quoting it while we were there. Every time something went wrong (which was often) and we were stranded without a bus, or food or whatever, he’d pipe up with that verse. At the time I thought, ‘of course – we are totally trusting God, I can do this, not planning or relying on myself, only way we’re going to get a bus is for God to get it for us…this is easy’. Easily said when surrounded by 26 other people and my only responsibility was to make sure none of the girls lost their passports; besides, I’d be home in 2 weeks.
As I read this verse now I wonder how I ever thought I was living a life of faith. I have never had a want in the world. My family certainly wasn’t rich, but we were far from poor. I always had a car, food, clothes, sports and recreation, vacations…I was never out of a job, got two university degrees, did well in school, had a career…none of this required faith. I don’t think I honestly know what the word means. “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Heb 11:1) That’s the definition my grade nine students gave me on tests, of course like myself, they don’t have a clue what that translates to in English. ‘the substance of things hoped for…’ well, I hoped for a career, for money to support myself, fun, love, happiness, growing in my ‘faith’. Sure that’s what I hoped for. But aren’t all these things, things I can accomplish without him? What substance is there in that? Can’t I work for my career, make money, seek fun, love and happiness, study to grow in the Word? Well, maybe He needs to help a little with that last one, but outside of giving me the abilities to do all those other things, they require little faith on my part, only hard work. So what does require my faith, what is the substance of my hope?
Paul says he hopes for that “blessed hope, the appearing of Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13) Now that changes everything! If that’s what I’m hoping for then what does my career, my money even my happiness matter? If I’m hoping for that appearing, then I’ve realized that my place isn’t here. Like the old song says, “this world is not my home”. That means I have to change my perspective on everything! If to have faith, means to have hope in that calling and to be certain of it, why do I worry? Why do I stress over being single, over where my salary will come from, over how I’m going to pay for my car repairs. None of it matters, only that upward call.
“…evidence of things not seen.” Faith is evidence? Evidence of what? If I can’t see something, how do I know it exists? W.O. Mitchell wrote “Who has seen the wind?”. I haven’t, yet I’ve seen the effects of it. I’ve felt the effects of it. Those effects are its evidence. Perhaps the effects of faith, is the evidence of God. His trustworthy nature, the spiritual blessings He gives, His reality. All these bottled up in my faith. So what does it say of Him if my faith is weak? If my faith is the evidence for Him to this world…I can’t imagine what picture people around me have of my God. Suddenly I want that faith to mean so much more. To show so much more. This is the faith I am supposed to be walking by, as Paul was.
A faith that drives someone like Paul to choose to go to Rome to face execution to further give evidence of his Lord. A faith like Daniel’s, that led him to pray in front of an open window, knowing full well the punishment commanded by the King. A faith like David, that let him live in hiding in the wilderness, running from Saul and waiting on God – knowing he was anointed king. A faith like Amy Carmichael, to give up her life in India for the sake of the Gospel. This is the faith that I am to be walking by.
So what then have I learned since I was 17? Now that I know what walking by faith really is… Nothing. I still whine in my prayers for security. I beg for assurances. I want something I can see; concrete under my feet. This path is treacherous with eyes closed. But my God gives sight to the blind, and steadies the feet of His servants, strength in weakness, and reminds me that “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13) even to “walk by faith and not by sight”. Maybe the sign should read “Dependent Blind Society”, then I’d join.
The First Lesson
A tender foot steps onto the plank
Nervous hands out for balance.
One step and then another
until the edge.
Below anxious breath
his face a mask of confidence.
eyes never wavering.
Her toes curl over the ledge.
A frown creases her forehead,
but trust in what waits below
assures her of victory.
Eyes closed on the
Two hearts, both jump.
A moment of uncertainty,
followed by a smile breaking the
surface of the water.
A daughter cradled in her father’s
Evidence of things not seen.