Are you ready for some good news?
Faith isn’t trying to drum up mental certainty about future events; faith is assurance that comes from seeing something.
William Kamkwamba grew up in a farmer’s family in Malawi. As a young boy, he dabbled in fixing radios and small electronics. Although banned from the local private school for failure to pay tuition, William was allowed access to the school’s rudimentary library where he read about electrical engineering and energy.
By the mid-2000s, drought hit the Kamkwamba’s village, devastating the crops and threatening the community’s health and livelihood. Based on his readings, William hatched a seemingly preposterous plan to build a windmill that would power an electric water pump he had scavenged. He envisioned it pumping water from the community well to pipes which could irrigate the fields.
First, he had to convince his father to donate the dad’s treasured bicycle to the cause. People thought he was crazy – a windmill from a bike? An electric pump drawing water from the well? They couldn’t see what the boy saw. But, when the father finally trusted his son’s vision, the boy harnessed the wind and saved the entire village. (You can learn more about William in The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, which is now also a Netflix Original movie of the same name).
That’s how faith works. In Acts 3, when Peter and John go to the temple to pray, they pass a lame man who asks for alms. When Peter sees him, he says, I don’t have any silver or gold, but here, take my hand, rise and walk. Peter says, I have no money, but I do have faith. Here.
William Kamkwamba saw a wind turbine that others couldn’t see. Peter saw a miracle that others couldn’t see.
How could Peter see it? The key is found in Acts 3:16 where Peter describes how the man was healed: “… the faith that is through Jesus has given the man this perfect health in the presence of you all.” It isn’t just faith in Jesus, it’s faith through Jesus. By seeing with Jesus’ eyes, Peter was exercising faith through Jesus’ presence. In other words, Peter had Jesus’ own faith.
Faith isn’t an artificial hope we muster through mental gymnastics. It’s a clearer vision of what Jesus sees. And that’s the Gospel!