Faith versus Belief

When there are prophets among you, I the Lord make myself known to them in visions; I speak to them in dreams.  -Number 12:6 

Dear members and friends,

Having faith in God is a challenge for any human who lives on earth. Some people may interpret the meaning of “having faith in God” as just believing in the existence of God. However, the entire Bible teaches us that believing in the existence of God and having faith in God are two very different matters. Often, the fundamental problem of the Israelites in the Bible was never about their belief in the existence of their God, but about actually living a life in accordance with the commandments of their God. Thus, having faith in God means that one is not only believing in the existence of God, but is also willing to live by the commandments of one’s God. This has been very clear to me from my personal experiences. 

Since the summer of 1988, I had no doubt about the existence of God. That year, I was a high school senior in Korea, meaning my stress level was very high all the time and I was unsure of how the future would unfold. Besides these normal stressors, I had two extra challenges to contend with. First, my mother confessed to me that she could not support my college, which was contrary to what she had been telling me since middle school. Then, an Eastern medicine doctor diagnosed me with arrhythmia and said I could die within 6 months. Out of desperation, my mother took me to a healing lady who was quite famous to some people, but infamous to Korean church leaders. She would heal you with her acupuncture needles and prayer. “If you believe, you will be healed,” she said when I sat before her. I was not sure what to believe, or even what it means to believe. But, I prayed sincerely and honestly to the one who has the power to heal. Then, I had a vision. In the vision, an old man with white hair and white beard appeared and gently touched my head. I still vividly remember his face, his smile, and his eyes, yet if someone asked me to describe details, I somehow cannot. In fact, what I vividly remember of the experience is more of a feeling than an exact picture. I felt comfortable, welcomed, and loved by this being. He did not say a single word but just smiled at me. That was good enough for an 18-year-old troubled heart to feel a sense of hope and assurance that I might find happiness in my life. For whatever the reason and cause, my arrhythmia was gone after this experience. This was more than enough to believe in the existence of Higher Being or God. However, having faith in the God whom I experienced at 18 took a long time! 

My friends and family in God, let us take a moment and reflect upon our life, our journey and those special moments. If you see and find the hands of God in your life, praise the Lord and be happy with it! If you somehow do not find God’s presence, please look deeper because no one who is alive lives out of the presence of God. 

Blessings, Rev. Junchol Lee