Yesterday, my wife and I went for a walk at a local trail (Mill Pond Trail in Wolcott, CT) and it was time well spent. We got to exercise together while enjoying each other’s company and the beauty of nature. We encountered a lot of different people who were either walking, running or biking. I know with the ongoing pandemic we are limited as to what we can do and where we can go this summer, but Rose and I are determined to stay active and as healthy as possible. Walking the trail, which is about 3 miles around a big lake, we have to pay attention to the pathway and others around us as we make our way through the trees and over small wooden bridges along the way. Having the ability to see where we are stepping as we move forward is a big advantage and blessing in and of itself. Yesterday, I could not stop thinking about these words written by Paul in the book of 2 Corinthians 5: 7, “We walk by faith, not by sight.”
Although the apostle wasn’t literally talking about the physical ability of walking and seeing, I couldn’t help but think how blessed I am to be able to see while I am walking. Without sight, a person needs someone to guide them. So often, I have seen blind people walking around with the help of a dog – a guide dog. I can even remember once I saw a blind person moving around slowly while using their hands to get a sense of touch and direction. Without sight, most people completely rely on someone or something else to guide them in the right direction. That is the purest form of faith – a faith that does not completely rely on self-ability – a faith that trusts wholeheartedly in the dark – a faith that allows oneself to be guided in the right direction without always having the slightest idea of how rugged and tough the road ahead is. That is Faith.
Faith, it’s about “Trusting God with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding” (Proverbs 3: 5). It is about being totally confident that all things will work out for your good (Rom 8: 28) because you know who is guiding you along life’s journey – you trust and believe in God’s willingness and ability to guide you to your final destination. However, walking by faith does not mean being void of common sense, which is a gift from God that we need to use every now and then. Walking by faith does not mean we need to neglect certain rules and guidelines that are set in place to protect us. In Acts 9, after Paul preached in the synagogues (v. 20 – 22), many Jews were indignant and sought to kill Paul because of his prior life and reputation before becoming a Christian (v. 23). The Bible says “they were watching the gates day and night” waiting to kill Paul (v 24). When the apostle was made aware of the situation, “The disciples took him by night and let him down through the wall in a large basket” (v 25). Every time I read that verse, I cannot help but ask: “Why didn’t Paul just go through the gates?” After all, he was a man of great faith – a man who was not easily swayed nor threatened by the dangers along his ministerial journey. He could have called on God to help him make it through the gates unscathed, but this great man of faith decided to escape through a window in a wall instead of having faith that he could have made it through the gates. Moreover, some of the disciples were with him, and they could’ve easily been put in danger had Paul gone out the front gate. Obviously, this wasn’t about him having a lack of faith – it wasn’t even about him being afraid for his life. I believe it was about common sense. There was a mob waiting to kill him, and he did what most people would have done: avoid putting his life in danger.
Walking by faith must involve the use of common sense, because it is important that “We do not put the Lord our God to the test” (Matthew 4: 7). During the temptation of Jesus Christ, Satan took the Lord to the highest point of the temple and asked him to throw himself down because the Bible says God will command his angels to protect you and will not let you get hurt (Matt 4: 6). The law of gravity dictates that if you jump off a tall building, you will get hurt or could possibly die. Therefore, use common sense and don’t break the law of gravity and expect God to rescue you on your way down. That is why Jesus responded, “Do not put the Lord your God to the test.” Yes, we have faith in God’s willingness and ability to protect and help us in our time of needs. Yes, we walk by faith and not by sight. However, it’s also important that we use common sense and follow the different guidelines that are being put forth by the experts and professionals during this pandemic.
God bless you, I love you, and keep up the faith.