Do we believe in God and trust our lives over to Him simply because of who he is? Do we trust our lives to the great God revealed in the Word of God because He is self-evidently worthy of all our trust? I suggest that is what should be the case.
What I observe though for many is that they have to sustain their belief in God by a continual looking for evidence that He truly is alive and active. This attitude can lead to an almost obsessive looking for the evidences of God’s intervening in life and circumstances. In such circumstances, our experience and knowing of God becomes a very variable thing. Some days when we see that God has worked in certain ways we are very strong and rejoicing in God. Other days when we see no such happenings we are downcast and weak.
One of the consequences of this attitude is that we start to look at the circumstances of life to find God and not to God himself. This is not good. Our faith should be in God. The core principle on which our knowing of God hangs is that which Abraham experienced. Abraham ‘believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.’ This scripture is stated in Romans 4:18, Galatians 3:6 and James 2:23. The threefold repetition indicates what a fundamental principle this is. Our spiritual health hinges on this truth. We start our spiritual life by taking God at His Word and we continue it by taking God at His Word. Above all His Word most specifically leads us to appreciate His great intervening love at Calvary’s cross.
I do not want to be misunderstood here. I am not saying that we default to a position of believing in a deist type absent God. Such a God is a disinterested being who cannot be really appreciated and so cannot be trusted at all. What I do want to assert is that we rejoice and delight in ongoing evidences of the great intervening kindness and evidence of our God.
However, there are times when God simply withdraws evidence of Himself to test why we believe In Him. This was the great challenge to Martha. Her brother Lazarus had died. And he was still dead. There was no evidence at all of God being evident in this situation. In fact it was the reverse. God seemed to be very absent. So would she still believe? Would she still trust God? It is interesting to look at the passage where Martha meets her Lord and Saviour in John 11:17-27. Let us consider particularly the Lord’s speaking to Martha: Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?’ Effectively he says to Martha, “will you look to me or to the evidence?” The evidence of a dead brother who indicates that God does not intervene. But the reality is a real Saviour who is there to be trusted on the basis of his Word. Where would Martha look?
Where will we look? When there is a sick relative who only gets worse when we pray, will we still believe God? Or will our faith fade and only be rejuvenated when that sickness abates?