Hebrews 11:1 ESV Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
If we do not have the “direction” of what we think is faith, that genuine faith given us as a gift from the Lord, then we are going to get it wrong. And getting faith wrong can really cause us some troubles.
As you can see from the above scripture, faith does look ahead. We “hope” for things that lie in the future, not the past. But we must also notice that this faith’s eyes do not see! Yes, certainly we see God’s promises, by the eyes of faith. We “look for” Christ on the horizon. But faith does not see in the sense of actually possessing its object. One day, in the new heavens and earth, we won’t need faith because we will literally see the things which we now hope for.
But back to this issue of the “direction” of our faith.
If we are looking ahead, into tomorrow or next week or next year, and if in doing so we are claiming that we really see what God is doing and is going to do, then let me suggest to you that this is not faith. It is presumption and often times it turns out to be our sin attempting to tell God what to do. It is really superstition, not the supernatural faith Christ has given us. Superstition in the sense that it is a kind of magical thinking by which we assume that if we do this and this or if we see this or that happening….then….ah yes! Now I know what God is doing!
No. No we don’t. Faith looks ahead at things not seen. At God’s ways that are far above our ways. At the doings of God who is incomprehensible and acts in ways beyond what we can even think of. If faith is really going to “see” something, then the faith by which we trust God for the future also looks back and, even then with some difficulty, is able to say “I think I see what God has done!”
Let me give an example:
Over a decade ago the Lord worked in my (His) ministry in a way I never would have imagined. He somehow, through events and through many years of suffering at the hands of wicked people, opened my eyes and enabled me to see this wickedness called domestic abuse, sociopaths, naricissists, evil. And then He led me along and enabled me to write a book about it. Then to start a blog about it. Then to write more books about it. He brought faithful people like you along to help. I look back and I see and I believe by faith that He has done this. BUT if long years ago I had decided, “OK, Lord, this is what you are going to do. I see it. Here is how it is going to go. I will start announcing what you are going to do, and I am going to commend myself for having such huge faith which is the cause that is going to make you do these things!!”
Do you understand? If you insist that you know what God is going to do, if you claim that by exercising faith you can direct the outcome of events in your life and in those of others, then what you are exercising is not faith. Because faith’s object is not seen. In fact, what you are calling faith is a kind of superstitious magic by which man claims to manipulate God.
And it will get you into all kinds of trouble. All kinds of disappointments. All kinds of confusion. Beware. It is a very common trap.