“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” – Hebrews 11:1
“Dad, there are a lot of cars driving today. I bet every car in the whole world is driving right here now.”
“Yeah, son there are a lot of cars this morning, but I don’t think every car in the world is right here…that would be a whole lot more cars.”
“Yeah, cuz there are 110 cars in the whole world, and that would be a lot!” (Imagine that said with the awe and wonder at how a 5 year old sees the number 110 as infinity.)
This morning, I was driving NE to school following an early morning doctor appointment when he said that, and it made me smile…and got me thinking about how much of a child I really am in my faith. Have you ever found yourself putting limits on what God can do? Silently thought to yourself, “this situation is hopeless. I don’t see how this is going to work. This is not possible. There’s nothing we can do. It’s just too much…too big for me.”
I remember the first Upward Sports season for us at FBCW. When God laid it on my heart to bring this ministry to our church, I never envisioned starting the first season with 241 kids. After all, there was a league being played at the same time right across the street with 250 kids already. I planned for 100 that first season…and thought that would be a lot…I set my limits on what God had planned. In season two, I planned for 300…and the league across from us disbanded, and we had 458 register. By season three, I started dreaming big…and planned for 500. God again demonstrated He’s bigger than we are, and brought us 518. So in season four, I thought…I’ll show Him…and I planned for 600. He brought us 621. As we planned for the men’s Bible study we recently started, we ordered materials for 30 men, thinking that was more than enough…believing we’d never get 30 guys to attend this study…and 45 committed to the 8-week study!
These are just the most recent instances I can look back on in my life and see that I have a habit of limiting what I believe God will do. Maybe it’s that my faith isn’t that strong or deep, but I think it’s also that in my humanness I can never really know how great our God truly is. After all, our limited perspective feels like on most days this is all there is. When we walk around this world we see things from a human’s eye…because that’s who we are…how He made us. We can’t truly grasp what infinity is because we’re a visual people. Even the universe we live in is defined by a boundary, so infinity seems an impossible concept to grasp.
Like 110 is the highest number known to a 5 year old, so it is with us. We think that our vision limits God’s visions. When what we need is to reverse that and realize that it’s God’s vision that sets the limits of our own understanding. He placed in us a desire to know and follow Him, and limited our vision to what is seen for a reason. The vision we have in us to see the unseen is only a small portion of what He placed within us. I choose to believe He did so because if He had completely revealed to us the fullness of His vision, then of what purpose would faith be to us? Anyone can believe what is seen…it’s the unseen that takes faith. On this side of eternity, we’ll never fully comprehend the fullness of His vision and the limitlessness of His power and love.
When NE was first learning to count, ten was it. That’s all the fingers we have, so that must be as high as we can count, right? I remember the amazement at learning there’s an eleven…a twelve…and even more…but not seeing it made it hard to believe. So to help him understand and believe, we hung a number chart on the dining room wall. Numbers all the way to 100! Wow! As he mastered that which he could see, we again rocked his world when we revealed to him that it doesn’t end at 100. Next is 101…102…103, and that you can keep counting numbers forever. He had to learn (by faith) that it doesn’t stop at 100…to imagine a world where you can keep counting forever and ever. Like his understanding of numbers grows over time, so does our faith. Let your faith grow beyond what you can see…beyond what you feel…beyond that which you can understand and comprehend…beyond what you can grasp. Because faith in what you can see and grasp is not really faith at all.
“When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” – 1 Corinthians 13:11-13
Gracious Father, I’m thankful that you’re not limited by my vision. Forgive me for placing limits on what is possible through You. May you continue to grow my faith through whatever means you find necessary to do so. Please enlighten the vision within me to better see all that You would have me to see. Ignite a passion within me to daily follow after you with all I am and all I have.