Hay-Ropes, Ice, and Faith
By Eli Stutzman
January 1, 2008
When I was young and growing up, we had one of those large old barns, with four haymows. When we put loose hay in the back mows, we children often had the job of pulling back the carriage to the center for the next load. My older cousins who happened to be helping with hay showed us that you could ride the rope down from the crosstie. That looked risky, so we would climb halfway up and try that first. When we came to the point where we believed that was safe, we would climb higher and grab the rope for a ride down. I began to have faith in that rope. And to gain faith, I had to become familiar with the object-in this case the rope.
We also used to skate in the winter. First we had to find ice that would bear our weight. If we put our trust in thin ice, we soon found out that what is really needed is thick ice. If I say I have strong faith in weak ice, I'll soon need rescuing. If I have weak faith in strong ice, I need to build a stronger faith in the ice; I need to know what the ice will hold before I trust my life on it. It also helps to know how deep the water is, under the ice. In other words, know your ice. I can say, I hope the ice will hold, but that is not faith. Test the ice, drill a hole through it or ask someone who knows. When the evidence is there, then I'll move on it. In this case the ice is the object of my faith and trust. The proof of my faith is when I begin to skate on it.
Hebrews 11:1 says; "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."
Just as we are careful before we place our confidence in hay ropes, or ice, we also choose carefully what we believe in matters concerning our soul. Will it hold? Of course I can see a rope, but what about the unseen things? That's where we need some help.
Romans 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
We have to become familiar with the object of our faith, Jesus Christ. To do that, we have to study what the Bible (Word of God) says.
Matthew 3:16-17 says And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
Here is one witness as to who Jesus really is. A voice spoke from heaven. Is there more, you ask? Let's take a look at Matthew 9:6.
Matthew 9:6 says, But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith he to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house.
The reason for this healing was to give us confidence that Jesus was indeed able to forgive sins. There we have two pieces of evidence. There an many different places in the Bible where you will find more pieces of evidence that build faith. Also, ask other people that have already built their faith according to scripture.
I know that in everyday life, I cannot forgive a debt that is owed to uncle Henry. Since the debt is owed to him, he is the only person with the authority to forgive. Anything else is fraud. That is why we have to establish that Jesus Christ has the authority to forgive sins. Is He indeed the Son of God? Yes, you say, but is he willing?
John 3:16 says; For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
The word ‘whosever' means anybody. Let someone who is very wealthy write a check and put on the ‘pay to the order' of line the word ‘whosoever'. The bank will have you endorse it and you get your money. The bank believes that you are ‘whosoever'. If I didn't believe it was real, I wouldn't even take it to the bank.
John 6:37 All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.
That tells me if I approach Jesus seeking forgiveness and redemption, I will not be turned away. There is much more to base our faith and trust upon, but that's a start.
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