“We live by faith, not by sight.”
As I reflect on my time in China and prepare for my last days here before returning home, this passage of Scripture comes to mind as a general theme for my journeys in China. “We live by faith, not by sight.” It is true that we are made alive in Christ through faith in His Name; not through works, not through anything of our own doing, but through faith in Him and His perfect work that was accomplished upon the cross. Jesus has spoken to me from this passage of Scripture not only as to how we receive life, but also as to how we are to live life with Him.
I think so often as Christians we want to SEE where Jesus is taking us and we want to SEE what Jesus is doing in the lives of those around us. We want to SEE things happen. I have often been guilty of this. For me, this has often caused difficulties and frustrations. I can think of two reasons why this is the case. First, we are more concerned with the destination or the result rather than actually following Jesus and experiencing a relationship with Him. The second reason is that we are attempting to follow Him on our own terms (by sight) rather than His (by faith); we are the ones attempting to determine how He will fulfill His promises and what that will look like (this isn’t actually following Him by the way). Hebrews 11:6 tells us, “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” So unless we walk with Him by faith, trusting Him and His promises, it is impossible to please Him.
This summer has repeatedly shown me that my faith is weak; that so often I don’t trust Him and the promises that He has given me. Consequently, I find myself relying on my own strength which is a weight and a burden that is indeed difficult to bear. Despite my many insufficiencies and weaknesses in faith, Jesus remains faithful. “If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.” (KJV 2 Tim. 2:13) He has proved His faithfulness time and time again during my time in China. It has been a beautiful and wonderful journey in witnessing His great faithfulness.
Now as I prepare to leave China, Jesus has brought me to a very interesting point in my journeys with Him. There were (and are) many opportunities to share His Word with those around me. There were (and are) many open doors for the Gospel to be proclaimed here. As I reflect on the seeds that Jesus used me to plant as His Word and Gospel message went forth, I realize that as I don’t know now, I may never know what happens to those seeds (at least not until we are with Him in His courts). I know very little of how He used my life during my time here…at least from what I can see. But, when I reflect on His promises, I am filled with hope and I rejoice.
Before I left for China, Jesus shared a promise from Isaiah 55 for what He wanted to do during my time here. In the fifth verse He says, “Surely you will summon nations you know not, and nations that do not know you will hasten to you, because of the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, for he has endowed you with splendor.” I was coming to a nation that I did not know to live amongst those who did not know me. It was a beautiful promise that echoed Jesus’ calling in the Great Commission. Now and throughout my time here in China, He often brought to mind the promise regarding His Word that comes in verses 10 and 11 of that same chapter. He assures us that His Word will not return to Him empty, but will accomplish what He desires and will achieve the purpose for which He sent it. Upon reflection of the seeds that He used me to plant, I Corinthians 3:7 comes to mind: So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. He is the only One who is able to cause those seeds to grow. Simply knowing the goodness of His character and the promise of Philippians 1:6, we can rest assured that the work that He has started He will carry on unto its completion. He will not begin something in a person’s life and leave that work where it is. Rather, He will see it through to the end. Though I will leave, He will remain and continue His great work in the country of China.
In short, Jesus has brought me to a point where I must completely leave sight behind and walk only by faith in Him and in His promises. With the promises that He has given us and simply knowing who He is, we ought to rejoice and give Him praise! He who has called us is faithful and He will fulfill all of His gracious promises. Rejoice in Him! Cling to Him and to His Word. He is Him who always remains true from generation to generation. May He enable you to walk with eyes of faith to seek Him, the Giver and Fulfiller of every good and gracious promise. To Him be the glory forever and ever!