“By faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained the testimony that he was righteous, God testifying about his gifts, and through faith, though he is dead, he still speaks.”Hebrews 11:4
Faith. Many well-meaning believers can easily overlook this five-letter word, suggesting it to be a spiritual gift given only to some. That not everyone has the faith that can move mountains, but only those who are called as vocational ministers or pastors. We ask God for faith, but receive what seems to be silence.
We want answers for our trials, our pain, our waiting. And in the midst of seeking these answers, we ask God to give us the faith to trust Him with the outcome.
When I was in college at Dallas Baptist University, there were several semesters my faith was put to the test. My parents were married right out of high school and they didn’t know they were supposed to be saving up for their child to attend college, much less a private Christian university. Financially, the numbers didn’t add up for me to attend and there were a lot of unknowns. Every single semester, God brought me to my knees dependent upon Him to provide. And He did, so much so that I graduated with my bachelor’s and master’s degree from DBU completely debt free.
I say that not to boast in my own doing, because as a poor college student working part time at a local church, I certainly wasn’t in any position to be reckless with what God had blessed me with.
It can become so easy to fall into the trap that faith is a passive attribute we can use when we need it but allow it to fall by the wayside and become lazy when things are going fine for us. Instead, faith is the proactive, obedient response to a holy God, who has already proven Himself trustworthy time and time again.
We often ask for faith to get us through each moment instead of looking at the bigger picture—the legacy of faith we will leave behind us. By faith, Abel offered his sacrifice to God. He didn’t bargain or negotiate with God by saying, “I’ll give you this sacrifice if you give me faith to get through the day.” No. His faith in God came first. Abel placed his faith in the holy and righteous God he knew to be true, and he gave God his best, not knowing that his own murder would be the outcome.
God is faithful even when His people are not. Faith draws sinful people to a holy God, enabling us to trust in the One who sees and understands the bigger picture because He is the one in control. Faith is so much more than a five-letter word.