“The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him.” (Ps. 28:7)
I would like to make two final points in this post.
First, if I am in the middle of a genuine journey of faith but along the way I make some honest mistakes or non-optimum decisions that get me seemingly side-tracked and off-course at times, then the information content of my God-composed life-script to get me safely from the start-line to the finish-line expands to become more complex than before. Yet the ability of God to overcome our human weaknesses (Rom. 4:6-8) is precisely the record of the lives of faith recorded in the Bible, “warts and all.” This is one of the dynamic elements authenticating the Bible that reveals the resurrection power of the Intelligent Designer God actively participating in our lives, over and above our unintentional miscues, “gaffs,” and shortcomings large and small.
Toward the end of his long trial of patiently waiting for the promise of God to come true, Abraham the “father of faith” is at the point of losing his faith when he says to God: “O that Ishmael might live before thee!” (Gen. 17:18), meaning that Abraham is close to giving up on God’s plan for his life.
Joseph unsuccessfully attempts to procure his release from Pharaoh’s prison by appealing to Pharaoh’s butler and baker to proclaim his innocence before Pharaoh, after they are freed from prison (Gen. 40:14-15). Unbeknownst to Joseph at the time, this entirely understandable action by Joseph would have prematurely derailed the incredibly beautiful yet challenging life-script God had written for Joseph.
Moses is “running ahead of the Spirit” when he kills the Egyptian and inaccurately assumes as recorded in Acts 7:25 in the speech of Stephen before the Sanhedrin, that “…his brethren would have understood how that God by his hand would deliver them.” Moses then has to flee to the land of Midian and becomes a shepherd of sheep (a fitting apprenticeship training program for later leading the Israelites to Canaan) until his calling at the burning bush in Exodus 3.
David makes many mistakes during and after his rise to becoming king of Judah and Israel. Yet God says of David that he was “a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfill all my will” (Acts 13:22).
The famous denial by Peter of Jesus in the courtyard of Caiaphas (Mt. 26:69-75) is certainly a key factor in the “crucifixion” of Peter’s prideful self-confidence (Mt. 26:33) leading up to the cross at Calvary and the resurrection three days later on Easter morning. The humility gained through this excruciating painful failure by Peter, and his restoration during his personal interview with the risen Jesus, served Peter well during his long career as an apostle and leader of the early church (1 Peter 1:3).
The Apostle Paul’s persecution of the early Christian church serves as the foundation of the grace and forgiveness that Paul can genuinely extend to the idol-worshipping, polytheistic Gentiles, which was first extended to him by Jesus Christ on the road to Damascus. From Damascus onward Paul knew that if God could forgive him then God could forgive anyone, yet this crucially pivotal knowledge central to the success of his missionary outreach to the Greco-Roman empire in the first century, was built upon the most monumental error of Paul initially persecuting the very Christian church he would later defend and support at the risk of his life.
The first point I want to make here is that if I come to a place in my journey of faith where I doubt my own half of the joint-venture walk of faith with God…if I have little confidence in myself to keep up my part in the relationship…and I am not entirely sure that God can come through in this current challenge because of the outward appearance of the difficulties…a hope-filled discovery from experience is that if I keep going forward in faith then I am in actuality exercising faith in God through my actions. Even though I do not “feel” strong in faith internally, nonetheless I have moved up to a higher moral level above myself…above self-reliance, pride, and arrogance. By pressing forward…doing the next thing in faith…I have moved into the worldly unconventional dichotomy of rising up into the divine humility of faith (Josh. 3:14-17; 6:20).
Second, when it comes to the biblical narrative stories of faith, Shakespeare had it wrong when he said through a character in one of his plays: “life is a tale told by an idiot…full of sound and fury and signifying nothing.” On the contrary, the narrative stories of faith recorded in the Bible are ancient examples of the very modern concept of specified complexity as identified within information theory. The “instructions” that make up the specificity of every letter of every word of their “stories” is sophisticated at a level of artistic ingenuity, foresight, and purpose-filled direction as to be entirely outside of human imaginative invention.
Like the Cambrian biological explosion of diverse life-forms 530 million years ago, the complexity and information content of the genetic code we find in DNA, and the unmistakably preprogrammed capacity of children to acquire human language communication skills rapidly at an early age, the specified complexity of the cross and resurrection themes contained within the narrative stories of faith in the Bible begs the question…where did this front-loaded information come from?
Finally, the revelation of information communicated in the Bible through the examples of the narrative stories of faith is an “historical” format. Each narrative story of faith is unique and non-recurring. The specific details of the stories of each person of faith match a particular time in history and a unique task to perform. We can draw inspiration and encouragement from these divinely composed, orchestrated, and recorded historical lives and events, but part of the brilliance of the creation of journeys of faith is that they cannot be duplicated in anyone else’s lives but our own. The priceless heritage of every Spirit-born Christian today is a uniquely crafted, God-composed adventure of faith individually tailored to match our abilities and personalities, which contain all of the challenging, faith-building elements that will lead to a personal relationship with the one, true, living God.