Do you remember the scene from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, where Indiana has to step out on an invisible bridge? (CLICK HERE to watch it the clip.) He’s standing before a great chasm, and he needs to get to the other side in order to save his father’s life.
“You must believe,” his father whispers. Indiana struggles with what he sees before him—or more precisely, what he doesn’t see—and then realizes, “It’s a leap of faith.”
In the movie, Indiana can’t see the way across until he takes the first step. He believes that it must be possible to cross the chasm, but it is only when he makes a move that he is able to see that the way was there all along.
Our own faith is tested and proved in much the same way.
“So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world. You love him even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy. The reward for trusting him will be the salvation of your souls.” 1 Peter 1:6-9 (NLT)
The believers Peter was writing to were living in fearful times. No doubt their lives and livelihoods were at risk because of their allegiance to Jesus. Peter opened his letter by praising them for their faith: “You love him even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him now, you trust him.”
But how did Peter KNOW what they believed? For that matter, how do you know what YOU believe?
The proof of their faith was their lives. Their actions, the way they lived, and the love they shared must have offered evidence of their faith.
Faith isn’t simply a matter of words. True faith is an action of the heart, mind, and soul. Faith guides our daily steps and the leaps we take. Trials, like invisible bridges, put our faith to the test and turn words into visible proof.
I have long believed that the trials we face are not tests that God gives us to see whether we can pass. God already knows our future; He knows what choices we will make. Rather, I believe that God allows trials as tests for us to prove to ourselves what we believe—and to help us understand HE is faithful.
Think about something terrible you’ve endured that brought you closer to God. You would never have asked for that trial, and you wouldn’t want to go through it again. Nor would you wish it on anyone. And yet, you can look back and see how that test grew your relationship with God. That test proved to you what you are capable of because of the strength Jesus provides. It proved the genuineness of your faith. And as a result, your faith increased.
No one likes trials. We would rather life be easy and our path be smooth and clearly marked. But then how would we truly know what we believe?
It’s only after we take the leap of faith that we grasp the reality that the Way—and the salvation He offers—was there all along just waiting for us to believe.