What is faith? Before my trip to Czech, I had never found a satisfying answer. I had asked around – I knew what my friends and elders said faith was. Faith was, “believing in what is unseen” or, “knowing despite all evidence something was true.” Sure, these definitions worked, but they always seemed to leave something out. I never could figure out what that something was, though.
As a result, I came to understand faith in God as, “I believe that God exists, so I have faith in God.” Faith went no farther than a belief in God’s existence – it had no effect on my actions except as a constant caution not to disobey. Faith rested solely on my shoulders…and it left my definition of faith dead.
The Czech Republic changed how I understood faith completely. When I was in Czech, my group and I were stuck in the middle of Cesky Tesin with about 20 minutes until dinner and outreaches in the local neighborhood started. It was pouring rain, and we were huddled in a tunnel waiting for it to stop. It did not look like it was going to subside. Naturally, Joshua asking God to stop the sun came to mind. After mulling it over, which involved plenty of questioning if I had enough faith, I asked God to stop the rain so that we could get back to the Church for His glory…and then I stepped out into the rain. A few seconds later, there was not a drop falling. My faith was redefined.
In an instant God had showed me that faith was not all about me. Faith is a team effort. It started with me, of course. I had to believe in something, such as God’s ability to stop the rain, but then I had to take that belief a step further and trust that God would step into the rain with me. THAT was faith – a belief that if God chose, He could do the impossible, then ACTING as if He already had.
This was the recurring theme for me the rest of the trip. The Ignite Cesky Tesin group from the church there constantly set up events without a spoken doubt that people would come. No matter how many came, they were convinced that glory would still be given to God. The administrators of Kristfest, the national youth camp, allowed Americans they did not know to preach to a crowd of 300, trusting that God would use them. A two hour car ride to Prague became a test to see how far our trust was willing to go. Time after time God reminded me that faith was no longer just a belief – it was a relational trust.
Yet through all of this, one warning stayed strong in my mind – this new faith was not a tool to justify any action or desire. God would only act in the way that would bring Him the most glory. That day in Czech, stopping the rain brought Him glory, but not every storm is opposed to our God. Only if God sees it fit to act will He act. We just need to be prepared for the outcome, whether it is what we wanted or not.
How has God expanded your idea of faith lately?