(Photo by Patrick Fore on Unsplash)
Faith and realism are often portrayed as being on opposite ends of the spectrum. And understandably so! If faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things unseen (Heb 11:1), it flies against the face of a person that tries to make sense of reality based on events that are taking place.
This has been a personal struggle of mine. I have a personality that is wired to be very logical, and seeing life realistically, and then making decisions based on what I observe is what I tend to do. So how does faith come into play in my life? There definitely has been growth in my "faith muscle" over the years. In that I'm learning that God's reality is more trustworthy than the reality that I observe with my own senses. I'm learning to make decisions based on God's principles (found in the Bible), and also what He is saying to me now (which is never in opposition to the Bible).
In saying that, I have sometimes felt that I am handicapped when it comes to faith. My personality means that I'm not one of those that sees life through "the lens of faith" easily. To some extent it made me feel like I had a problem with my personality. However, I have made a recent discovery that helped me to realize that I am NOT handicapped!
A month and a bit ago I felt God speak to me about Lift Church making an investment, to sow into another church financially. Being a church of 2 years, it felt like a big step to take! But our finances as a church was doing well, and the Board and Elders were all very supportive and excited about it. Well 6 weeks on, a pattern popped out to me. Upon doing some calculations, I found that our weekly collection as a church increased by 20% since we gave away from ourselves! Our bank account has already passed where we were when we gave the gift!
The realist in me that loves to discover patterns helped me to see the "return on our investment" so to speak. God is able to use my personality to recognize when He is at work. This is something that I've observed: faith doesn't have to disregard reality. In fact, because God is at work in our reality, we need to be able to join the dots in seeing recognizing what He is doing. God's provision isn't necessarily about a bag of money appearing at our doorstep. It can be through more everyday means. To be able to observe reality and see that hand of God in it is important. Faith doesn't exist in exclusion from reality. Our faith impacts our reality! And then it is up to us to recognize the wonders that God is performing in our everyday.