The quality of light is clearly communicated to us when contrasted to its opposite, darkness. Likewise, faith comes across crisp and distinct because it can be contrasted with doubt, appearances and opposing circumstances. Faith is explained by what it is not, and its opposites are its food.
Faith’s relation to the invisible is perfectly illustrated in the visible. In the natural faith begins in something desirable which is available to us. On this foundation we speak our word of faith: “I want to do that”, “I am going there”. When we are doing the thing or have arrived at our destination faith has become substance. Every truth in the Bible or whatever desire that surfaces in us is approached in like manner.
What is set before us in the invisible we take by our word of faith, and the substance or inner knowing is communicated to us by the Spirit in His time, but we don’t know how the Kingdom buds in us. Faith is like a muscle. It is exercised by its opposites until it is mature and strong. Also emotions, feelings and reason will all in various degree contradict our word, but we remain in what we have taken by affirmation and our repeated confession. Kirkegaard captures all this perfectly:
“If I am capable of grasping God objectively, I do not believe, but precisely because I cannot do this I must believe. If I wish to preserve myself in faith I must constantly be intent upon holding fast the objective uncertainty so as to remain out upon the deep, over seventy thousand fathoms of water, still preserving my faith.”
Faith’s prime moments are in its exploits of the impossible. The birth of Jesus, Abraham receiving the son of promise and Joseph’s dream coming through all testify to that nothing is impossible to God, and these instances communicate hope and faith to us in our circumstances which quite often carry a flavor of the impossible.
Faith is simple. Jesus expressed faith’s pristine purity and simplicity when He said: “Only believe”. The difficult part is to make that leap of faith that takes us upon the deep treading seventy fathoms of water.