God makes a promise to us ...
"I will never leave you nor forsake you" (v. 5).
"Let them alone; they are blind guides. And if the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.” (Matthew 15:14)
I heard a phrase the other day I hadn't heard in a long time ... "blind faith". It stopped me in my tracks & got me thinking, both about the very concept of what people mean by "blind faith", and what it has to do with our situation. What situation? You know, the pandemic. The crimp on our worship life and style, along with so many other aspects of our lives.
So, what is "blind faith" and is it biblical?
"Faith" from a biblical perspective is not blind. It's never blind. Not in any way, shape, or form. "Faith" is not a leap in the dark. It's called "faith" not because it has no foundation but because it's a relationship, a relationship between God and us with Jesus as the Mediator, the One who died and rose again for all of us. Faith is a relationship that is created and sustained in our hearts and lives out of God's grace and love for us in Christ Jesus, as the Holy Spirit works in us through Word and sacrament. And out of that faith relationship we get things such as trust, hope, confidence, assurance, comfort, peace, joy, patient, and the list goes on.
But blind?! Faith is never blind. Trusting, yes. Confident, you bet. Joyful, absolutely.
Notice that in the verse quoted above Jesus didn't call the believers blind; he called the unbelievers blind. Hebrews 11:1 states categorically that "Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen." People often interpret this as meaning faith is blind. Not true. Faith simply doesn't require God to explain His actions but rather trusts that God is working out everything to His own satisfaction, in His own time, but always for our benefit. Therefore, we can be completely assured and totally convicted that out of His grace and love for us in Jesus, God has everything under control.
So, why talk about this now, at the end of August 2020? Because with everything that is going on -- from COVID to race relations to politics to economics -- we need to have our faith strengthened.
In the midst of all of this it's tempting to think that God does not exist. But the biblical truth is that the same grace and love, omnipotence and omniscience, providence and mercy that could have: -- stopped this pandemic from ever happening but didn't; -- healed all social relationships before there was any prejudice on any level; -- empowered different political parties to behave with respect and honor for one another; -- ensured that no person lived in poverty or without the basic necessities of life; that God chose to do things differently than what many of us would have chosen to do. And yet, it is the exact same characteristics of God that sustains the universe throughout all time, and then chooses to enter our hearts and lives, one soul at a time.
We see all of this only through faith. Unbelief can not possibly comprehend what God is doing. Even in our faith we struggle with it, if we're honest. But without faith, there can be no seeing God at work right now. Just as without faith there can be no understanding that God made a bumblebee capable of flight (read about the laws of aviation and a bumblebee) or that God made stars shine at night here on earth when their light left them a long, really long time ago.
All of which is meant to say that God is in charge. Complete charge. He who numbers the hairs on our heads in a grid-like pattern, is more than capable of wiping out this pandemic. So, why doesn't He? Ah, there's the catch. But faith, my faith and your faith, tells us that we don't need to know that answer to that question. All we do need to know, believe, trust is that God has His ways of doing things and He does so with our best interests in His heart.
It's like the parents of very small children, say 9 -18 months old, trying to explain to them the 'hows & whys' of eating and sleeping and staying away from electrical outlets and hot stoves. The children do not understand it. But those same small children, experiencing daily the absolute love of their parents, have faith in their parents. As we have faith in God.
God is here. With us. For us. In Us.