How can we strengthen our faith? When we look to our own pitifully small faith in the face of our challenges, we can feel like the man who said, “I believe, help my unbelief.”
The secret of developing strong faith is not to focus on our faith or our challenges, but to examine our Savior, to gaze on his mighty power, wisdom and love and meditate on his glorious work on the cross. Some 35 years after the Civil War, the theologian Robert Lewis Dabney, blind and weak, knew his death was near and wrote his friend Clement Read Vaughan, wondering if his faith would be strong enough to face his death. Vaughan wrote his friend back and asked what a traveler would do if he came to a chasm spanned by a bridge:
What does he do to breed confidence in the bridge? He looks at the bridge; he gets down and examines it. He doesn’t stand at the bridge-head and turn his thoughts curiously in on his own mind to see if he has confidence in the bridge. If his examination of the bridge gives him a certain amount of confidence, and yet he wants more, how does he make his faith grow? Why, in the same way; he still continues to examine the bridge. Now, my dear old man, let your faith take care of itself for awhile, and you just think of what you are allowed to trust in. Think of the Master’s power, think of his love; think how he is interested in the soul that searches for him, and will not be comforted until he finds him. Think of what he has done, his work. That blood of his is mightier than all the sins of of all the sinners that ever lived. Don’t you think it will master your sin? . . .
May God give you grace, not to lay too much stress on your own faith, but to grasp the great ground of confidence, Christ, and all his work and all his personal fitness to be a sinners refuge. Faith is only an eye to see him. I have been praying that God would quiet your pains as you advance, and enable you to see the gladness of the gospel at every step. Good-bye. God be with you as he will. Think of the Bridge!
Your brother, C. R. V. *
Here’s the key to building strong faith – “Examine the bridge.” Don’t look at the chasm you must cross. Don’t examine your faith to see if it’s strong enough to get you across. Focus on the mighty Bridge, Jesus. He’s strong enough to hold you. Put your confidence in him.
Don’t focus on the giants in the land, like the Israelites did on the edge of the promised land. Look at your all-powerful Savior. Examine his love for you. See his fierce commitment to his own glory in helping his people. Meditate on his unfathomable wisdom. Look upon the bedrock of his sovereignty.
Whatever you face this week, remember to do this one thing: Think of the Bridge.
*From Why Johnny Can’t Preach by T. David Gordon. Thanks to Rob Saathoff for the quote.
photo by jms87