An area of faith that I believe is sorely lacking is faith in the character of God. Modern society has developed numberless variations of what it believes God to be like. The reality is that God's nature is defined precisely by how God Himself reveals it in the Bible. Even Christians struggle to maintain a valid and genuine picture of God's character. They suggest, "I don't think God would . . . ," or, "I think God should . . . ." When they fail to see what they want to see, they adjust their picture of God or demand that He prove Himself by showing them what they want to see.
For example, God describes Himself as loving. The world might say there are certain nations or geographic regions that God does not love. They might present certain socio-economic groups or certain organizations of people as being outside the love of God. Christians might be wise enough to state that God loves the entire world, but then modify their belief at times to claim that God doesn't love them personally today or during this stage of their lives.
It is undeniably true that challenging times come into the life of every Christian. At these times, it may be difficult to observe God as loving or good or merciful or compassionate or gracious or wise or powerful or faithful. Failure to observe God's character, however, does not negate it. A Christian who states, "I wish God would have compassion on me," or, "I wish God were wise enough to know what to do," or, "I remember the days when God loved me," is denying the character that God says He has. This is a failure of faith. God's Word is always true. What God reveals about Himself is always true.
God is loving - not because believers always see it, but because He says so."We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in Him" (I John 4:16).
God is good - not because believers always see it, but because He says so."The LORD is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble, and He knows those who take refuge in Him" (Nahum 1:7).
God is merciful - not because believers always see it, but because He says so."But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us" (Ephesians 2:4).
God is compassionate - not because believers always see it, but because He says so."Just as a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him" (Psalm 103:13).
God is gracious - not because believers always see it, but because He says so."And He has said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness'" (II Corinthians 12:9a).
God is wise - not because believers always see it, but because He says so."Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways!" (Romans 11:33).
God is powerful - not because believers always see it, but because He says so."'Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh; is anything too difficult for Me?'" (Jeremiah 32:27).
God is faithful - not because believers always see it, but because He says so."For He Himself has said, 'I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you" (Hebrews 13:5b).
I do not doubt in the least that there are times, perhaps even extended episodes of life, in which the believer does not see these qualities of God. There may be long seasons in which God's characteristics seem to be veiled from view. That does not prevent them from being true. Man's observational skills may be clouded by his limited human understanding, his curtailed mortal perception, or even his restrictive sinful nature. While he does not currently see God's love, for example, that love emanates just as brightly now as it always has. The believer is surrounded by it just as much as he was in previous situations of life during which he was aware of that love.
A believer with faith will say something like this: "At this point in my life, I do not see God's power. It seems that He is not doing anything on my behalf and is not changing my difficult situation. HOWEVER, I know that God is powerful, because He tells me so in His Word. Therefore, by faith I will believe that God is exercising His power in this situation even though I do not see it. I choose to believe that God's power has everything under control, that He is working good and limiting evil perfectly in accord with His plan. Someday I may see how His power was shown through this time, or maybe I never will, but regardless of what I see or do not see, I know that God is powerful and that He is exercising His power in my life now."
God does not have to prove Himself. A believer does not need to see God's character in order for it to be true. Demanding such a display indicates a lack of faith. A reticence to believe God without proof denies the faith that a believer claims to have.
"For we walk by faith, not by sight." II Corinthians 5:7 (NASB)