Real Faith

Have you ever wished that you live during Biblical times so that you can experience hearing from God or witnessing miracles firsthand? What price would you be willing to pay to have walked through the Red Sea on dry ground? To have tasted Manna? Or to have witnessed fire fall from the sky upon Elijah’s altar on Mount Carmel? What thrill it must have been to see the lame walking again and to witness demons being cast out of people? But it’s not just about thrills; if I lived during Jesus’ earthly ministry, I would have asked Him to heal my Mom of cancer and she would have lived to see her grandchildren grow up…

As I get carried away in this holy fantasy, I find myself subconsciously envying those people in Biblical times because they got the additional benefits of knowing God on more levels than mere faith. Did not the Apostle John write, “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched — this we proclaim concerning the Word of life” (1 John 1:1, NIV). It is not fair that they had a leg up on me in regard to my relationship with God. I would be a better Christian today if only I had the privilege of seeing God with my eyes and touching Him with my hands…

OR WOULD I?

The Israelites witnessed the most awesome miracles since the creation and yet they grumbled over food and went after idols. The prophet Elijah literally had a mountain top experience and yet despaired of his very life at the hands of a wicked queen. 

(stanza 1:)       
I’ve seen mountains move; I’ve seen giants fall                                 

I’ve watched oceans part in front of me
Every battle won, every miracle
Couldn’t stop my heart from questioning
Oh, Lord, help my unbelief
Through all this, You’re showing me

(chorus:)          
That I need truth instead of answers                                                  

I need faith instead of sight
I need trust when I can’t find the reasons why
I need presence over blessings
I need promise over proof
I need hope instead of healing in my life
What I really need is You

(stanza 2:)       
I’ve seen gardens grow from the desert place                                   

I’ve seen purpose drawn from my pain
There’s no tear that falls that isn’t met with grace
There’s no suffering here that goes to waste
Oh, Lord, help my unbelief
Through all this You’re showing me

(bridge:)         
Set my heart on fire                                                                            

And let it burn away the fear of what I don’t know
I don’t need the answers
‘Cause I trust the One who watching over my soul
He won’t let go

Wow, Bryan Fowler is onto something here. Every line of this song is so powerful, insightful and mature. 

Is it possible that my claim of disadvantage is just my lack of faith and my distrust of God? When I experience God, is the experience an end in itself or does it help me to know God better? When I look for healing, does it just make me feel better and have one less problem or does it open my eyes to God’s grace & presence? Am I subconsciously striving for independence and control instead of forever reliance upon my God?

If the former, no amount of experience will suffice and I will continue to question God because it is, by nature, inward-focused and self-serving. 

If the latter, I can say as Job did, “My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you” (Job 42:5, NIV). I can have more of God and less of me. 

Songwriter: Bryan Fowler
What I Really Need lyrics ©2019, So Essential Tunes

Peter Teng serves as a CR leader at GRC.