What is the relative value of faith in the mind of God compared to worldly conventional normalcy? God places so much weight on creating a context for faith to operate…even if this involves waiting patiently “in faith” for some good outcome…some good thing to happen…that God will insert His plan that partially or utterly displaces whatever previous plans we might have entertained or cherished (Gal. 2:20; 1 Pet. 1:3).
A new God-composed context for faith displaces and overrides our natural desire for “worldly conventional normalcy,” even when it involves withholding or postponing something good for a period of time.
Abraham the “father of faith” is the first biblical example of this key concept. Abraham and Sarah do not want to endure a lengthy wait for the birth of a son, and become so desperate to help God out in the direction of achieving this aspect of conventional normalcy in their lives, that they contrive to arrange the Hagar and Ishmael event.
But the life-script that God has written for the life of Abraham…contains a divinely ordained element of patient waiting, in the storyline…purposely to create the context for faith to operate.
Other biblical examples that come to mind are the Israelites in bondage in Egypt, Joseph in Potiphar’s house and Pharaoh’s prison, Moses in Midian, the Israelites in the wilderness exodus, Hannah, David during his 13-year period of preparation to be king, the blind man in John 9:3, and the three-day wait for the disciples while Jesus lay dead in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathaea.
All of these people…along with many other examples in the Bible…had the circumstances and events of their lives arranged by God to set-up the context for faith to operate…at the cost of giving up some portion of conventional normalcy and thinking.
Not only does this have enormous apologetic value for validating the supernatural origin of the Bible…but it also provides a biblical perspective to our interpretation of end-times prophecy.
Human nature wants to hurry things along…to speed things up. We want to rapture the Christian church off the earth pretribulation. But God takes as much time as is necessary to do things right. The contrast between Adam and Eve impulsively taking and eating the fruit from the forbidden tree, and the long period of human redemptive history…is enormous and clear-cut.
But if God must withhold or postpone something good in our lives in order to create the context for faith to operate…He will do it. Faith leading to knowing God…like Paul in Philippians 3:10…in the eternal view is exceedingly more important than the loss or postponement of something otherwise good in the this-worldly, conventional scheme of things (Rom. 8:18).