Dakota read the key verse for his Sunday school lesson the third time, and shook his head. This verse was really difficult to understand. He glanced up at his father who was sitting in an armchair across the room. “Dad, what is faith?” Dakota’s father put down his newspaper and looked up as Dakota continued, “My key verse is, ‘Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.’ It doesn’t make sense to me.”
“Well, Dakota, faith is believing in something so much that you don’t have any doubts about it. For example, when you were younger and would break one of your toys, you always brought it to me and said, ‘Fix it, Dad!’ You had faith that I could fix anything!”
“Sure, Dad, and you always did it!”
Dad chuckled, “Well . . . not every time, Dakota. But faith in God always works. It’s very important to our Christian lives that we have faith in the power of God. Paul, in writing to the Ephesians, said, ‘For by grace are ye saved through faith.’ So without faith we cannot be saved.
“The story is told of a stunt performer who attracted large crowds as he walked a tightrope stretched over the brink of Niagara Falls. The audience cheered him enthusiastically as he did remarkable feats on the taut wire.
“One day he called to the spectators, ‘Do you believe I am able to walk across this tightrope pushing a wheelbarrow?’ The crowd roared, ‘Yes, we believe you can!’ ‘Do you believe I could push the wheelbarrow across the falls with a man in it?’ he continued. ‘Yes,’ rang out the cry again. ‘Then,’ he asked, ‘who is willing to get into the wheelbarrow?’ Suddenly a breathless hush fell over those standing on the bank—not one person in that ‘believing’ crowd volunteered. Their faith went only so far. They believed the man could do the feat, but they couldn’t believe to the extent they would climb into that wheelbarrow.
“You see, Dakota, faith in God is more than a mere mental assent to the fact of His existence. It is putting your life into God’s hands and letting Him take control. It is asking God to guide you over the tightropes of life. Faith is getting into the wheelbarrow.”
“Oh, that really makes it important! So how do we get faith, Dad?”
“Faith comes by learning more about what God has done. Let me tell you a story from the Bible, Dakota. One day while Jesus was in a town called Capernaum, many people came to the house where He was staying. They crowded in until there was no room left. As Jesus was preaching to them, four men carrying a man sick with the palsy approached the house. They couldn’t get near Jesus because of the crowd, so they climbed onto the roof. After removing the roof tiles, the men tied ropes to the sick man’s bed and lowered him into the room where Jesus was. When Jesus saw the faith of the men, He said to the sick one, ‘Son, thy sins be forgiven thee.’
“In the crowd there were some hypocritical teachers of the Law. They thought this was blasphemy, because only God can forgive sins.
“Jesus knew what they were thinking. He challenged them by asking which would be easier: to forgive sins or to heal the man? Do you know what He did, Dakota? To show the people that He had the power to forgive sins, He told the sick man to arise, take his bed, and go to his house. Immediately the man got up! The people were amazed and glorified God.
“The men who brought their friend demonstrated their faith in the healing power of Jesus. Their faith was rewarded. When Jesus healed the sick man, more faith was put into the hearts of those who saw and heard. When we see or experience God’s power, it instills more faith in us. Faith, then, comes directly from God.”
Dakota smiled, “Thanks, Dad, you can explain anything too!”