By Richard Glickstein, Former President – The National Bible Association
It was the worst aviation disaster in history!
Norman Williams, a strong Christian, was flying on a PanAm747 to the Far East. The plan stopped to refuel on the Spanish island of Tenerife.
While a dense fog rolled in, another 747 from KLM tried to take off. The pilot did not see Williams ‘plane and collided with it killing everyone on the European jet and many on the other 747.
As the accident unfolded, a fireball began rolling through the cabin where Norman was sitting. He stood to his feet and instantly remembered a Bible verse that he had memorized as a child.
“When you go through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they will not go up over you: when you go through the fire, you will not be burned; and the flame will have no power over you’(Issaiah 43:2).
Norman cried out, “I stand upon your word! I stand upon your word! I stand upon your word!
Norman states that then he looked up to see daylight above his head because the crash had caused a hole in the fuselage. He says that he does not know how he got through it to the roof but moments later he found himself sliding down the side of the wing and off of the fiery plane.
Not one hair on his body was burned. Through faith, Norman Williams escaped certain injury and death! He refused to doubt God in his time of trial!
So what does it mean to have faith in God?
Faith can seem like a mysterious feeling that comes and goes but the Bible is quite clear on what faith is and how we can attain it. Let me give you some practical steps to develop faith in God:
- The word “faith” in the Bible means, “to trust”. We need to give control of our circumstances to God and trust that He will work it out.
Such faith is stronger than simply “believing”. I may “believe” that a chair can support my weight but when I sit on it I “trust” it. To have faith or to “believe” in God means to “trust” Him. I rest on his power to support and sustain me just like the chair.
Likewise, I trust that the pilot of an airplane that I am flying on has the skills to safely get me to my destination. I “believe” in him. In the same way I “believe” that God can bring me through life safely and securely because his word promises this for all who “believe”.
- Faith is formed through our exposure to God’s Word, the Bible. The Bible is a record of the work and promises of God for all humanity. There are over 3,500 promises in the Bible that God has made to us. He wants us to know these promises and trust that He will fulfill them for us.
Just like in a new car, where the auto engineers put an operational manual in the glove department to consult in order to successfully maintain the vehicle, God has given us instructions in his manual, the Bible, for abundant living.
Read the manual and memorize the promises that are meaningful to you.
When you are having difficulty, find a specific promise in the Bible that speaks to your circumstance and stand on it like Norman Williams did. Begin by reminding God of His promise and thank him for His provision, and the answer that will come.
- Faith receives the answers and provisions from God before we physically see them. David Chois the pastor of the largest Christian Church in the world. But that was not always the case. He began his ministry with a handful of people, who like himself, were very poor.
Cho slept on the floor of his tiny apartment and had no furniture or transportation. Knowing that God’s word promised to provide for those serve Him, Cho began asking God for a desk to work on, a chair to sit on and a bicycle to get around the big city of Seoul Korea, for his ministry.
After a period of time, he felt like God had answered his prayers and that the items would soon be coming.
At the same time, he had the feeling that God wanted him to get up before the church and tell them that he had already received the items!
The church went wild with joy at the news.
Three young men told Cho that they had to see these items for themselves. Not knowing what to do, pastor Cho brought the young men to his empty apartment.
Believing he had received wisdom about faith from God, he asked one of them several questions before entering his apartment. Cho asked him how long he had been in his mother’s womb before birth and what he was doing in there. He answered Cho that he was growing inside his mother for nine months.
David Cho then explained to the young men that by faith he too was pregnant but with a desk, a chair and a bicycle.
It wasn’t too long afterwards that Cho received the actual desk, chair and bicycle.
As the Bible says, “Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1).
- Faith requires our enduring patience and not our tendency to panic!
We need to resist the urge to take back control when things don’t look good.
It is emotionally and sometimes mentally painful trying to fight against the desire to panic when we are trusting God. Many times, during the process we will be tested by the reality we are experiencing. Out senses will tell us one thing and God’s word will say another. Everything around us will be crying out for us to take back control.
But don’t give in! Quote the word of God and be reminded of His promises.
This is what David did before he slew Goliath, the giant and champion of the Philistines who fought against Israel. David heard about the promise of King Saul to reward any person who would slay the giant, and he believed that God would use him to kill Israel’s enemy (1 Samuel 17:30).
But no one believed that David, a young shepherd boy, could succeed in a battle with a seasoned warrior who was nine feet tall! Even David’s own brothers mocked him when he told them that God would use him to kill the giant. In the face of such discouragement, David’s faith was sorely tested, but David turned away from the skepticism and looked to someone else who would encourage him. God’s promise was the rock that David stood upon. His faith in God’s deliverance would not be moved!
Faith turns away from doubt and listens to the promises of King Jesus. We might have giants facing us in our daily lives, but God’s Word will strengthen and encourage us even when others might doubt.
- Finally, faith seeks to trust in God one day at a time.
Jesus taught us, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matthew 6:34).
Each of us is encouraged to trust God for today. Victory in faith comes only one day at a time. Focusing on this truth from God’s Word will help us to overcome our fears and experience the power of the living God as the One who saves and delivers.
Don’t tell God how big your storm is; tell the storm how big your God is.–ANONYMOUS
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION:
- What circumstances in your life are the hardest for you to have faith in God for?
- Reflect on the times that you have been in these circumstances where God delivered you.