“By faith Noah, after he was warned about what was not yet seen and motivated by godly fear, built an ark to deliver his family. By faith he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.”-Hebrews 11:7 CSB
We hear often about faith in the Christian circle, especially when it comes to prayer. Indeed, faith is one of the most vital elements of our prayer lives and of life in general. But what does living in faith actually look like? Is faith simply praying and believing in what we’re praying for? Does it extend further than simply praying?
If you were to ask a Christian congregation what is faith all about, they would most likely quote you the famous passage of scripture: Hebrews 11:1. But a deeper look into the hall of the heroes of faith would reveal that faith is always accompanied by action.
“By faith Noah… built an ark…”
As the apostle Paul would remind us if he were among the living, we must walk by faith, not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7). Even this simple reminder associates faith with action or movement (walking). Looking back at Genesis 6, God commands Noah to build an ark in order to save his family and some of the creatures of the earth from the flood that will devastate the world. In those days, the people had never experience rain much less a flood. Yet, Noah believed God and acted according to his belief: he actively began to build an ark following the instructions of God. Noah could have refused, could have argued with God over the damages that the flood would bring and when it would take place. He had many roadblocks before him and throughout his efforts to build the ark, yet he pursued in his endeavors.
There are at least five roadblocks that we can easily identify that could have prevented Noah from moving forward in following God’s plan:
- Noah had never seen rain before.
- He had never built an ark before, could he successfully do it?
- How would he get the animals small and big inside that ark?
- Would he have gathered enough food and supplies to last for the duration of the flood?
- Would the people believe him? What if they laughed him to scorn?
Despite those roadblocks, Noah moved with indisputable godly fear as the scripture reminds us. He chose to focus on the grandeur of God and his promises rather than debilitating fears.
Noah’s story is recorded in the Bible for our benefit. The great forefather “did everything that God had commanded him” (Genesis 6:22) demonstrating how faith leads to action even when the plan seems irrational to our limited mind. Faith does something that we cannot do; it takes our limits off of God and it holds fast to his promises.
~Faith takes our limits off of God. ~
Jesus went as far as to say that those who do not say, yet believe with faith are blessed.
“Blessed are those who have not seen [Me and what I am able to do] and yet believe [in Me and the Father’s power]”- John 20:29 CSB (emphasis added mine)
Indeed we are blessed when we cannot see Jesus, the Father, or the Holy Spirit yet still believe in the promises that have been made to us and take them to heart. Blessed are we when we believe that God is more than able to answer our prayers even though we may not see evidence of them being answered.
Just as people laughed Noah to scorn, they may do the same to us, even fellow believers. They may think our prayers are too big, insane, or impossible. Even more, they may say “it is not God’s will” as they shrug their shoulders up and down. Yet, still we must back up our faith with actions because “faith without works is dead” (James 2:26).
Although Noah had many obstacles before him, he had a character that was like no other for those of his generation, one that has been recorded in the scripture. Noah is known as “a herald of righteousness” (2 Peter 2:5) because of his willingness to believe what God promised. His reputation is also based on his willingness to act in obedience to God despite the lack of proof of rain. The truth is, God’s word was all the proof Noah needed. Friend, are you searching for proof beyond God’s assurance already provided through his Word? God’s Word stands firm and will come to pass, let that be also all the proof that you need to move in faith.
Faith is not only active; it is also practical. Practical faith is doing things to prepare internally but it also requires an external response (or a physical response).
Noah went and actually built an ark.
As a pregnant woman prepares for the arrival of her child as soon she finds out she’s pregnant, we too must prepare for what we’re praying and believing God for.
A pregnant woman will:
- mentally try to prepare herself
- put more money into her savings account
- buy books on motherhood
- purchase clothes, diapers, baby formula and any other items for the child
- choose names, a couple in case of a boy and a couple in case of a girl.
That is most likely what Sarah, Abraham’s wife did. She went and got the equivalent to our modern diapers and due to a long wait her diapers may have expired and needed new ones.
What are you pregnant with?
Is it a desire to see your loved one saved?
Perhaps a new job or a new career.
Or perhaps overcoming an enormous challenge or trial.
And if you’re single, perhaps the desire to be a spouse and a parent?
That prayer that keeps coming back to God, that you’ve prayed in different ways to express a desire or a need, maybe have prayed in various languages, THAT’S your pregnancy.
Like every pregnancy, there are different stages. During some, you may not see any evidence of being pregnant (your belly is not popping out for the world to see yet) but it does not stop the pregnant and soon to be mother from having expectations and preparing for the arrival of her child. In prayer, it ought to be the same. For a season, short or long, there may be no signs, no evidence of God doing anything, yet you must persevere and believe in his promises.
If you’re not preparing, you’re not expecting. If you have no expectations, why should you pray? Expectation is the proof you bring before God that you are waiting on Him until the flood comes. Until then, you’ll prepare and expect it any day now.
Remember that your answered prayers will cost you. It cost Noah to follow God. Likewise, it will cost you something too: it will cost you that you let go of fear, doubt, unbelief and at times other people’s opinions possibly even your own.
Noah was under great pressure. If you’re feeling under pressure, between a hard place and a rock, you’re positioned perfectly to see what faith can do. In your pregnancy stage, feeling under pressure is uncomfortable: your feet began to swell up, your back hurts and you cannot see your toes because of your large belly. Still, this is when you know that birth is coming. When the contractions begin, you are assured that the child is ready to come to this world. So if you’re feeling under pressure, you’re feeling like it’s been a long waiting period, you are positioned perfectly. It took 120 years for Noah to see the rain but eventually Noah was able to say “I see rain!”.
Whatever God has promised you, it will require moving in faith despite what your natural eyes can see or people may say. This is also true saving faith. So begin to move in faith today.