by Joey Bonifacio
They didn’t see what was promised. They were flogged, beaten, and vanished. They suffered here on earth and did not have a full glimpse of what they believed in. Despite it all, they went beyond believing and obeyed God, by faith. They are the men, with their eyes on the eternal, who took the leap.
More than a decade ago, I was in the car with my good friend and colleague Steve Murrell when we were looking at each other and wondering where our church will get the money for its latest building project.
“Steve, it’s next week,” I told him. “I know,” he responded. “You told them God will provide, right?” I said. Though there was some humor in our conversation, the amount we need to settle was no laughing matter. We only had 10 percent of what we need and we have no idea where we’ll get the money for this bill.
Since the very start, we knew though that our church, Victory Manila, was building the church facility by faith. We have believed and continue to believe that God will come through, though at this juncture with a bit of (very) nervous laughter.
We were still in the car when Steve got a call from the States. He put it on speaker.
“Steve, as I was boarding the plane I felt led to give you $200,000,” the voice on the other line said. Steve and I just looked at each other. The guy who called, a friend of Steve’s, continued to say that the amount he felt he needed to give reached $500,000 while he was on the plane, “and right as I was getting my luggage, I felt God wanted me to give you a $1 million. I want to know how to give you the money.”
The bill we have due for our building project was paid in full.
Like Steve said, God did provide!
Relieved and jubilating on the inside at the same time, Steve and I started to just praise God for what happened.
The building project moved forward, by faith, and was completed. It’s standing tall today at Bonifacio Global City in the capital of the Philippines, Manila, as a testament of God’s favor and grace to our church.
A man with a faith to build
The story of building by faith and holding on to God’s promise brings to mind Noah’s amazing story in the Bible.
In Genesis 6:9, we came to know Noah, who like Enoch before him, had a relationship with God.
This is the account of Noah and his family. Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked faithfully with God. Genesis 6:9
Noah was intimate with his Creator. He believed in Him, and anchored His faith in God. As the passage says, he walked faithfully and was blameless among men.
This is why when God commanded Noah to build the ark, he obeyed, and though he has never seen the flood or had an idea of what an ark is, he followed God’s command.
Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight and was full of violence. God saw how corrupt the earth had become, for all the people on earth had corrupted their ways. So God said to Noah, “I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them. I am surely going to destroy both them and the earth. So make yourself an ark of cypress wood; make rooms in it and coat it with pitch inside and out. Genesis 6:11-14
Noah had the kind of faith that allowed him to build things according to the will of God. He saw beyond what is earthly or visible and into the eternal. He went beyond the unseen and looked unto Him who is able to save his family.
By faith, he built the ark for 100 years because God said so. Though he and his family were being mocked, he persisted and was faithful to build. Through his life and example, Noah preached righteousness and showcased a life of holiness and obedience that comes from a faith that sees what is unseen, a journey that can only be navigated with the eyes of faith.
Noah’s faith translated into obedience and persistence because it was anchored on something stable, sturdy, true, and unchanging—the Word of God and the Promise Giver.
The anchor of our faith
Hopelessness is the sure mark of our lack of faith, and sometimes we anchor our faith on the wrong hope, the wrong dreams, the wrong ambition.
But like Noah, if we are to build our lives by faith. If we are to build relationships, ministries, careers, and a family that can withstand storms and even the floods of life, it can only happen when we anchor our faith in God and His Word.
There will be many instances when we’re given a choice to follow God or do things our way.
If we decide today to build our lives according to His Word, according to His Promise, and with the goal of pleasing God, then not even the greatest flood or storm of life can cause us to perish. Because in our hearts, we know that God will come through.