Skip to main content

One of the most perplexing questions of the faith is this, “Why doesn’t God just reveal Himself? Why does He require us to believe what we can’t see?” It certainly would seem much easier to be a Christian if we could look up and see Jesus looking down at us. The preparations required to debate an atheist would consist of memorizing the following argument, “Look up.” A three-year-old could defeat Richard Dawkins with enough time to go home and color within the lines. That scenario seems a lot easier and, dare I say, better. Easter would be a lot more glorious, we think, if Christ manifested Himself in our services. Certainly, many more Easter visitors would become true Christians.

But God’s ways are not our own. He withholds the healing that seems like such a good thing. He allows unbelief to grow and Christianity to shrink in America. He sees the starving children and does not rain down manna upon them. He does and doesn’t do the things that we don’t and would do. Why?

In the realm of faith, all Christians understand that God does not unequivocally “prove” Himself because such a thing is impossible. There is no state of affairs that could be obtained in which every person everywhere will say, “Yes, God exists, and His name is Christ,” while they are still free to reject Him. So long as the option to reject God exists, people will exercise it even if the risen and ascended Christ were to sit down on their couch. Such an event would likely be “a figment of my imagination” or a “corporate hallucination” if others were to see Him as well. 

An example is found in the principal Christian event—the Exodus. Some may think the resurrection, especially during this time of year, is the principal Christian event, and it is in terms of importance. The resurrection is the single most important event in Christianity. Without it, all else fails. But it is not the principal occurrence in the sense that it is the foundation or origin of Christian existence. The resurrection was prefigured for us in the Exodus. As Christ ascended to heaven after His resurrection, He parted the waters of sin and condemnation and beckoned us; actually, He carried us up with Him (Eph 2:6). The resurrection is our Exodus from a world of sin to a heavenly world of divine love. The Exodus is the foundation of Christianity as it points us to the completion of the resurrection.

Yet, the Israelites didn’t find the first-hand experience of this event sufficient to sustain their faith. They saw the ten plagues. In the movie The Ten Commandments, Yul Brynner, who plays Pharoah, believably downplays the plagues as “natural occurrences.” Whether this was the line of reasoning Pharaoh used, or if it was merely defiance toward God as the Bible indicates (Ex 8:15), or a combination of the two, we don’t know. But, we do know that it is human nature to see God’s hand and dismiss it as nature (Rom 1:18-23; 2 Pet 3:4). The point is this—if anyone could have an indomitable faith as a result of seeing God’s hand, it would have been the Israelites who walked through the Red Sea as God’s hands pushed it up into two walls on either side of them, only to let the walls of water down at the precise moment that their enemies were beneath them. But something in them, like Pharaoh, turned the vision of that event into disbelief.

Moses tells the Israelites who saw this event (“I am not speaking to your children who have not known or seen it” Deut 11:2b) to “consider … what he did to the army of Egypt, to their horses and to their chariots, how he made the water of the Red Sea flow over them” (Deut 11:2, 4). Surely, we might think, a person who has a personal memory of the Exodus—the inexplicable demonstration of God’s power—would never have trouble maintaining their faith. We think, “If I was in the Garden of Eden, I would have obeyed.” Or, “If I was in Egypt and saw the Exodus, I’d never doubt.” And, “If I saw Jesus in His incarnate ministry, I wouldn’t doubt like Peter.” But the reality is, whether we want to believe it or not, we are Adam, Israel, Peter, and even Pharaoh.

Despite the majestic view of towering waters being held up above their heads being burned into their memories, the very same Israelites who walked the sacred ground between the waters were described this way by Moses: “Everyone doing whatever is right in his own eyes” (Deut 12:8). The simple fact that so many refuse to believe is that no amount of “proof” will enable us to believe in God. Nothing external to us will produce faith. There is no argument the atheist will receive. There is no miracle the cynic will accept. There is no vision that will change the doubter into a believer. Rather, “faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ” (Rom 10:17).  

It is astonishing to think that God looks at our faith and is pleased. He enjoys our faith in Him; it pleases Him (Heb 11:6). But faith that is built on the experience of the Exodus, or some other event, is less pleasing to Him than faith that is built on the word of Christ. In this way, the lack of spiritual experience is actually a benefit to our faith in that it provides us with the opportunity to have a faith that is more pleasing to God.

At least part of the reason that this faith is pleasing to Him is that it is almost always more secure. Faith in God as the result of a miracle is always threatened by a greater “miracle” done by Allah. But faith in God’s Word cannot be outdone. This is why Jesus says to Thomas, “Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are those who did not see, and yet believed” (John 20:29).

How is it even remotely possible for a person to not see any evidence of God yet have a deeper faith than the Israelites or Thomas? This is possible with the gift of God. All good things come to us from the Father of lights (Jas 1:17), including our faith (1 Cor 12:9).

Why doesn’t God part the heavens and show us His face? It wouldn’t change anything. What, then, should we seek? Faith. We should pray and ask God to grant us greater, deeper, truer, more loving faith. To achieve this, all you need is a Bible and the desire to ask repeatedly until you receive the faith you desire (Luke 11:8-9). This is, of course, both less exciting and more laborious than asking for a miracle. But the results are more enduring and sweeter, both to us and God. This is a hard road and many lay down and prefer to ride the waves of external proofs. But the journey of inward faith is a fight—the fight of faith—that will one day lead to glory.

Originally posted on The Fight of Faith.


Let's Discuss

We love your comments! Thank you for helping us uphold the Community Guidelines to make this an encouraging and respectful community for everyone.

Login or Register to Comment

We want to hear from you.

Connect to The Network and add your own question, blog, resource, or job.

Add Your Post