“By Faith”. . . The Proof is in the Sunrise!
The Marvel of the Sunrise
Few things are more powerful in effect than a sunrise. In all its glory a sunrise reflects its Maker and is progressively visible from every corner of the globe—mountains, valleys, lakes, deserts—and even from space! But for me, watching the sun burn through the morning clouds and haze and rising majestically over the vast ocean has no equal. Even today as I watch it in St. Augustine, FL my breathing quickens . . . and I marvel.
King David, of ancient Israel, was a big fan of sunrises too. He penned Psalm 19. In the opening verses he attests, “The heavens declare the glory of God, the skies proclaim the work of his hands” (19:1). David, too, marveled at the sun . . . ”It rises at one end of the heavens and makes it circuit to the other; nothing is hidden from its heat” (19:6).
A thousand years later, the writer of Hebrews expands on the truth of Psalm 19. “By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible” (11:3). The Hebrews author validates the same, yet incomprehensible reality seen by David—plus the first words of the Judeo-Christian Scriptures. Genesis 1:1-2 affirms that the earth was created from nothing except the Divine power of God himself. “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty . . . “ Can we conclusively prove that? Never! That’s why it’s a “by faith” proposition.
Why review one of the most fundamental truths of existence? Because if you doubt it, as some do—and don’t believe that God is “real” and the force behind creation—you will never get to the point where you will surrender your life to his Authority, much less to the Son of God (in Christ), whom he sent into the world countless eons after the sun began to rise over the oceans. Christ’s mission? To rescue each of us from ourselves . . . and point men and women towards a new Kingdom where the light of the Son never ceases, but the trials and travails of mankind most certainly will. All of that comes “by faith.”
Psalm 19 has a lot more to say about the Sovereign Creator of our world. Not only do the heavens declare the glory of God, but “Day after day they pour forth speech . . . and night after night they display knowledge” (19:2)—which means that we must put our fingers in our ears and our hands over our eyes—in order to block the speech and knowledge that brightens every morning and darkens the night. But even that stubborn effort is to no avail, says the Psalm writer, because the message of the heavens pierces the soul of every human being on planet Earth . . . for “there is no speech or language where their voice is not heard” (19:3). In other words, in order to deny what we see every morning (it’s called “natural revelation”), we must squelch the voice of God in our hearts . . . and suppress its truth in our mind.
That brings us back to the simple truth expressed in Genesis, Psalm 19, and the book of Hebrews—each speaking about the truth of natural revelation. Hebrews chapter 11, the most recent testament—though aged like fine wine for over two-thousand years, gives us more. It’s the most practical working definition of faith you will ever need; “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we cannot see” (11:1). Aahh, assurance and certainty . . . the most magnificent and precious “by faith” commodity we’ll ever receive!
But the writer of Hebrews knows we are doubt-grasping human creatures. Yes, we have the assurance of the morning sunrise, but difficulty with the certainty of the Creator who is behind the daily miracle. So, in short order, in chapter 11, he gives us no less than twenty-two “by faith” statements to cement the idea in our hearts and minds, including the patriarch Abraham, who “made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country . . . for he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God” (11:9-10). Abraham never realized that in his lifetime, but he rested in the assurance and certainty that it would come, just like we do.
Have you made the by faith leap into the presence of God? If not, know that it’s not about more information or facts; you’ll never have enough to tilt the scales to “proof.” If the sun rises tomorrow, you have all the information you need! And even if you have doubts and are vested in the science of the Big Bang theory of creation . . . no problem! Just be sure to credit God as the spark of the explosion and the result . . . and not the inkling that nothing can create something from nothing.
“And without faith, it is impossible to please God because anyone that comes to him must believe that he exists, that he rewards those who earnestly seek him” (Hebrews 11:6).