On Tuesday and Thursday this past week, I told the story of how we built garden boxes and filled them with dirt, and how this gave me a whole new perspective on mountain-moving faith and the faith that Abraham must have had when he left his home to wander in a foreign land for — four generations! — without ever seeing the realization of the promise.
We are soon coming up on the right time to plant those garden boxes, and we went out yesterday and brought home seeds and seedling plants.
What truly amazes me is that someday those tiny seeds will be radishes and that single, short stalk with two leaves on it will one day produce tomatoes. I can kind of understand the lettuce plants and the seed potatoes. After all, they already look like lettuce and potatoes; but those seeds… How can it be that planting one tiny seed in the soil will yield me a carrot or a radish or a beet? It blows my mind.
It takes a bit of faith, doesn’t it? I have to have faith in those who packaged the seed that they put the right seed in, that it’s good seed, and that some day it will somehow or another be a parsnip…
Of course, I have hundreds of years of the experiences of others to prove to me that those seeds will produce, even if I can’t understand how. But what about Noah? Noah, living in a time where there was no rain, no seas, no ships, was told to go out and build an ark! How much faith would that have taken? I mean, he didn’t even know what an “ark” was, and he had no idea what a “flood” would look like, for the Bible says: “It was by faith that Noah built a large boat to save his family from the flood. He obeyed God, who warned him about things that had never happened before.” (Heb. 11:7a NLT). In Noah’s obedience, he was truly following Pau’s advice to the Corinthians: “For we live by believing and not by seeing.” (2 Cor. 5:7 NLT).
You have to ask yourself at this point: Just how important is faith? I mean, if I don’t believe the seed will produce a radish, I simply won’t plant it, right? I’ll buy my radishes from the market, already grown. In Noah’s case, however, that faith became a matter of life or death: “By his faith Noah condemned the rest of the world, and he received the righteousness that comes by faith.” (Heb. 11:7b NLT). In one act of believing in what he could not even imagine, Noah saved his family, condemned the rest of the world, and received the righteousness that comes by faith!
Does this mean, then, that Noah would not have been declared righteous without faith?
This would be in keeping with the rest of the Bible: “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith…” (Eph. 2:8 NIV).
It is all so abstract. How can we better understand?
Let’s go back to my radish seed. I don’t understand how a seed can produce a radish, so the simple planting of that seed will take an element of faith. If I don’t plant the seed, however, I will never be able to have that radish. Faith was the prerequisite for Noah as well. He had to choose to begin the ark project, despite the fact that he had never seen an ark or a flood. Beginning the project was the “seed” he planted. In much the same way, faith is the prerequisite for us to be saved by grace. We have to believe it will happen, and take that step to accept Jesus’ gift, even when I can’t understand it all, in order to be saved.
When God asks us to take a step in faith, He doesn’t always make it clear what the end result will be, and sometimes He asks us to do things that we’ve never done, or perhaps never even seen before. We can be sure of only one thing: We must take that step in faith before anything can happen!
What is God asking you to do in faith? Whatever it is, remember Noah: He received the righteousness that came by his faith, and you will too!
In His love,
Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Moderator, The Illustrator (sermonillustrator.org), The Nugget (scripturalnuggets.org), with Answers2Prayer ministries (answers2prayer.org)
(To access the entire “A New Perspective on Faith” devotional series, please click here.)