Van Yandell

Luke 17:5-6 “The apostles said to the Lord, ‘Increase our faith!’ He replied, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you.”

I have learned in working with people of different languages, sometimes words and phrases do not translate. In a sermon in a church in Cuba, I suddenly realized a statement I had made would not translate. I said to the interpreter, “hold on a sec.” He did not know what a sec was. He waited until I could reword.

A story was told of a Kentucky preacher delivering a sermon in a church in Kenya. He told a joke, the Kenyan interpreter knew it would not translate. He said to the congregation in Sawhali, “American told joke, everybody laugh.” So they did and everyone was happy. The understanding of any concept varies from one person to another especially in various cultures.

Christians believe the Bible is the revealed word of the one Creator God to mankind. That certainly appears to be true, simply because the Bible contains so much information man could not have known 2000 or 3000 years ago. (Read Ecclesiastes and Leviticus). Actually, read the whole Bible.

One of the most dynamic concepts in Christianity is the belief system called faith. God tells in Ephesians 2: 8 “ For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.” Grace is the undeserved favor of God and faith is believing in something one cannot prove. Bearing in mind, proof is within the mind of the beholder. “Not of yourself” means we cannot earn it; Jesus earned it for us on the cross.

Faith is a belief concept we humans employ every day, not just concerning religion, but many other facets of our lives. When I straddle my Harley, turn on the ignition and push the button, by faith I believe it will start. We have faith when we drive our cars onto the highway. We have faith when we buy a product, when we drive a nail or drink from a plastic cup or bottle. Faith is a part of our lives.

Faith is often discredited. I was told about a lady that opened a can of name-brand corn to find a large, green, well preserved corn worm. Needless to say, her faith in the producer suffered that day.

I was an Industrial Arts/Technology Education teacher. I taught the materials, tools and processes used in the construction and manufacturing industries. I’ve worked as a carpenter, plumber, electrician, block layer and other trades. I’m also a great mechanic, I can take anything apart!

Because of my work experiences, I am a hands-on, results-oriented thinker. For me to deal with spiritual concepts is difficult. However, I believe there is a spiritual realm because the Bible says there is and I believe the Bible. This concept I accept by faith.

Hebrews 11: 1 “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Think back to the paragraph concerning the misconceptions in interpretations. From a current day meaning of the word “substance,” this verse just isn’t accurate. A substance is defined as a particular kind of matter with uniform properties. Faith is a belief type and is conceptual and not mixtures of molecules, atoms and other matter to make a physical object, such as a substance. I think, perhaps, the Hebrews writer meant with a faith so powerful to produce a substance is a real possibility with the power of God.

Hebrews 11: 6 “without faith it is impossible to please God.” God knew, when He gave us faith, we would be alive now and not then. Faith is without question, a type of believing in something we have not personally experienced.

I was sitting on the tarmac at Orlando International Airport in a 777 a few months ago. I was calm, reading my Clive Cussler novel. The lady sitting across the aisle was crying and praying. As we accelerated to take off speed, I thought, we have faith in Boeing, the engineers that designed the plane, the mechanics that service the plane and for sure, the flight crew. Well, I did, not sure about the lady across the aisle. If we can have that kind of faith in people and machines, why can we not have faith in the God that created us?

In the factors the Bible asks us to believe, faith is actually the only belief method we have that applies. We were not there two thousand years ago to see the miracles Jesus performed. We did not see Him crucified or walk out of the tomb, resurrected and alive. We were not there when Jesus walked on water, healed the sick or raised the dead.

We have no choice but to accept the words of someone that lived during that time period. Faith and trust have become questionable in today’s world simply because we have learned to verify everything. I have come to believe, the only truth available to us is the Word of God, the Holy Bible.

The Bible tells us, by faith, in order to gain eternity we must believe, Christ Jesus was crucified for the remission of sin and resurrected.

If eternal life is truth as the Bible states, we certainly do not want to be left out of God’s plan. Is it possible for the skeptical mind, developed in today’s world, to be capable of having a great enough faith to believe supernatural concepts? Belief is within the mind of the beholder and a question we must all answer for ourselves.