“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” Hebrews 11:1 (NIV)
Most of us take it for granted that we can go to the store and buy a vast array of seasonings. But spices such as cloves and nutmeg were considered treasured commodities in Europe in the time of Ferdinand Magellan. That’s because the only way of getting those kinds of spices at the time was by sourcing them from as far away as Indonesia.
Competition in trade drove an intense interest in discovering and controlling a variety of trade routes between Europe and these spice islands. Initially, whether traveling from Europe by land or by sea, the one thing all routes had in common was that the general direction of travel was toward the southeast. Continued rivalry between European countries however, led some to hypothesize that journeying west could lead to the discovery of new and perhaps even quicker trade routes.
Most people shot these theories down as being impossible though, fearing everything from sea monsters to killer fogs; to attempt to sail around the entire globe was pretty much the equivalent of suicide. That didn’t stop Ferdinand Magellan from planning an expedition that would not only be successful in reaching the spice islands by sailing west, but it would also be the first expedition to circumnavigate the earth. When others doubted, Magellan believed, and his named is remembered today because of it. His expedition was not at all based on blind belief, however. Magellan had good reason for his faith. Although it had never been done before, the astronomers of his time had provided enough evidence to convince him that the journey would be possible.
Hebrews 11:1 (NIV) says: Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.
Some believe that faith is continuing to believe in something in spite of any evidence that it is true, but that’s not at all what this verse is telling us.
It’s possible to hope for something that’s unlikely to happen. If you’re a sports fan, you’ve probably done just that more than a few times. You can take an exam, guess every answer and still hope to pass, but groundless hope is not the same thing as faith. Hebrews describes faith as a hope that you can feel confident about. That confidence comes from evidence. The evidence may not be able to wipe out every conceivable doubt, but it is enough to justify belief. It is enough to give you confidence in what you hope for. It is enough to generate faith.
Ellen White, the most translated female non-fiction author in the history of literature, wrote in her book entitled Education, God has given in the Scriptures sufficient evidence of their divine authority. His own existence, His character, the truthfulness of His word, are established by testimony that appeals to our reason; and this testimony is abundant. True, He has not removed the possibility of doubt; faith must rest upon evidence, not demonstration; those who wish to doubt have opportunity; but those who desire to know the truth find ample ground for faith. (Ellen White, Education, 169.)
Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for providing more than enough evidence to anchor faith in your existence and trust in your word. Strengthen our faith today. Amen.
By: Pastor Andrew Campbell