A couple of months ago, I had opportunity to spend the holiday season with my parents in the United States. As part of that trip, we took a short holiday up to my favourite holiday spot: the Blue Ridge Mountains of western North Carolina. The mountains are my favourite for a number of reasons; they were a constant of my childhood and are an incredible place to marvel at the amazingness of the Creator. I could go on, but I won’t because I’m not here to give you a travel advertisement. One of my favourite parts of the drive to the mountains is the moment that the motorway crests the top of a hill and the first bluish peak rises up from the horizon in front of you. It gets me every time.
On this particular trip, we did part of the journey at night. The next morning, I was excited to continue our trip and see the mountains for the first time (on this trip!). However, the next morning when we woke up, everything was shrouded by a covering of fog. So back to the motorway we went, but the entire trip, and our time spent in the mountains that day, was sans a view of those mountains.
In spite of my frustration and disappointment that I couldn’t see what I wanted to see, I never once questioned whether the mountains were there.
Now that might seem like a silly statement to you. Of course I wouldn’t question whether the mountains were there or not just because I couldn’t see them. I’ve been there before; I’ve seen the mountains. My past experience tells me that they are there. The (many, many) pictures on my mobile tell me that they are there. Half of the road signs, Google maps and the internet all told me the mountains were there, even if I couldn’t see them. I had confidence that they are there, regardless of what my eyes could or could not see.
But how many times do we question God and what He is doing?
2 Corinthians 5:7 tells us that “we live by faith, not by sight.” There are so many times in our lives when we cannot see what God is doing or when we might not feel His presence. But faith isn’t a feeling or even based on what our eyes can see in that moment. The writer of Hebrews reminds us, “[f]aith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” Faith is confidence and assurance.
Just like I know that the mountains exist because of all of the evidence I have, I know that God is there and working in my life and the lives of those around me. Past experience tells me this is true. Just like photos of the mountains sit on my mobile phone, my mind has a catalogue of experiences that tells me that God moves even when I cannot see it. And just like the road signs, the maps and the internet tells me the mountains are there, others around me and the Bible show me that God has worked and is working.
I love pulling out my pictures of the Blue Ridge Mountains; equally, I love sharing them with others. In the same way, may I encourage us to reflect on our past experiences with God and share them with others? Let’s share them when the sun is shining and let’s share them when the fog is so heavy we cannot see our hand in front of our face. Why? Because we live by faith, not sight, so let’s build faith.