Yesterday I preached about stuff "you have seen with your own eyes". In other words, the things that God has done in the lives of believers that are undeniably Him and His work. Of course, Moses had a litany of miracles to recount for the Israelites from Egypt to the edge of the Promised Land; but as we illustrated yesterday...so do we. I was overwhelmed (in a cool kind of way) when I asked for people who had seen God visibly work in their lives to see literally hundreds respond in each service.
This means that my faith is made up of three distinct parts. There is a part of my faith that is unseen or at least seen through a glass dimly. There are parts of God that I will never get until i experience eternity and come into His presence. This is the, "we walk by faith and not by sight" part of Scripture's teaching. Then there's this part of my faith built on what I've actually seen God do in my life. Cynics would call it coincidence, but there have been too many "coincidences" in my life directly associated with prayer or God's church for me not to believe God's hand is in it. I can say without a doubt that I have seen God move (maybe not plagues and Red Sea crossing, but just as miraculous I assure you). So those real (saw it with my own eyes) experiences make up what I believe moving forward. This is the "we are witnesses" part of the Bible. Finally, my faith is built on the testimony of others who have gone before me and currently surround me who have their own stories of God in their lives. I have two options when someone tells me an "out there" God story: Deny their experience, or believe God does that stuff. Well, since God does that stuff in the Bible and he's done that stuff in my life; I must believe he does it in other's lives as well. This is the "surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses" part of the Bible.
For believers, we can say we have faith in God because: we trust what is unseen, we have experienced of stuff and seen with our eyes what only God could do, and we have the testimony of those who have also seen God stuff.
I said it best in my sermon yesterday: "I don't have to see God to believe, but I've seen enough to know that my believing is not just wishful thinking." If you have one of those stories feel free to leave it here.