Links Daily Devotional

Experience and Faith

“The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” (1 Samuel 17:37, NIV)

Whether you learn your golf from TV commentators or friends who play the game, you will hear them make the same assessment when it comes to putting: Making putts is a matter of confidence.

Can experience play a role in cementing our faith, or are we required simply to believe?You can build a proper foundation and work to repeat your mechanics, but until you see the putts you’re afraid of going in the hole with regularity, you’re going to doubt and flinch and miss.

It really is that simple.

Or that hard.

If you can’t make putts without confidence, where can you go to get that confidence when you can’t make putts? Oh, I hate a conundrum!

In the realm of theology, we don’t so much speak of confidence as we do of faith. They are cousins at least, but with one great difference. The former comes from us, the latter from God.

On the golf course, confidence comes from our own experience. It does not much help us to watch others make putts. Until we start seeing our own putts fall, our confidence is weak and plays against the chance of our holing the putts in front of us.

In the broader world, as believers we profess that we place our faith in God. But here, too, our faith may vary in its strength. The key question is, can experience play a role in cementing our faith, or are we required simply to believe?

A young David was called to King Saul’s presence after the youth had publicly balked at one such as Goliath challenging the “the armies of the living God.” Saul was curious about the brazenness of this shepherd, but when the king took one look at David, he balked as well. “You are only a boy,” Saul told David, “and Goliath has been a fighting man since his youth.”

But even this boy had experience enough.

David told the king of how he had manhandled predators as a shepherd guarding his sheep. And David recognized that the ability to do this came from the Lord. Do you see both parts of David’s faith? God—in the midst of experience.

Where in your life has God proven himself to you? What experiences of God’s past faithfulness to you can bolster your faith in him for the challenges you face today? Goliath—the fiercest opponent you have ever faced—may be standing before you now. But God is bigger still. Let your memories of his undefeated, indefatigable might carry you through.

Jeff Hopper
March 21, 2017
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