Since we just spent some time with Martin Luther King, Jr., and we have looked at the trustworthiness of God, then perhaps we should marry the two together and look at this quote by King regarding faith.
Often we use faith and trust interchangeably but they are different. Primarily, faith is a noun while trust can be used as a verb. But the two do work in tandem. Our faith in something or someone allows us to trust that thing or person. As a number of writers have noted, “Trust is faith in action.”
One secular writer, Christopher Hitchens, would have us believe that faith is extremely dangerous. He writes, “Faith is the surrender of the mind, it’s the surrender of reason, it’s the surrender of the only thing that makes us different from other animals. It’s our need to believe and to surrender our skepticism and our reason, our yearning to discard that and put all our trust or faith in someone or something, that is the sinister thing to me. … Out of all the virtues, all the supposed virtues, faith must be the most overrated.”
However, I would argue that all of us place our faith in something, and that Mr. Hitchens, himself, has placed his faith in his own intellect. Others might place it in their power or position. Others still in their wealth or their leaders. And I doubt any of them placed it there as a “surrender of the mind . . . [or] reason.” In fact, they most likely placed it there because it has worked for them before. They entrust their life and their future on their faith in their (insert one of the above.)
Yes, the Bible says “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). The future is unforeseeable. Though we might anticipate what might be coming, we can never be sure it will occur until that day actually arrives. But once again, I would argue that people place their faith in what or who they believe will be able to handle those “unforeseen future events.”
King’s quote suggests that we do not go into the future blind. We see some of the steps of the staircase. As a Christian I believe these visible steps are twofold: first, they are God’s past faithfulness upon which we have built our trust; and second, they are His Word, which is “is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (Psalm 119:105), providing us guidance and direction.
Any faith that has nothing at all to support it is a weak faith indeed.
Maybe Edward Mote demonstrated the very real and concrete foundation of our faith in God through the first line of his now famous hymn: “Our hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness.”