Big faith. It’s this idea tossed around by Christians – the idea of having big faith.
Maybe big faith means unwavering faith. Maybe it means giving every aspect of life to God. Or maybe it just means having more faith than someone else. Let’s face it. We don’t even know what big faith looks like.
Do you want to know who does?
Ester. Ruth. Rahab. Hannah. They are some of the women of the bible with strong faith.
Not because they had more faith than their neighbor. Not because they never doubted or feared or struggled. And certainly not because they had perfect lives and perfect homes and perfect relationships.
They had big faith because of their heart devotion to the Lord.
Ester: Ester 1-10
Beauty. Reverence. Bravery. A beautiful woman with firm guidance and a bold fear of the Lord, Ester embarks on a dangerous ride. Because of her physical beauty, Ester is able to sit in a place of influence over those in power after becoming queen. Ester remains obedient and humble – allowing the wise words of Mordecai, her adopted father, to encourage her brave fight to free many Jews. When Mordecai challenges Ester’s purpose (Ester 4:12-14), she responds with willful submission and plans a strategy to free her beloved people. Her faith is bold, patient, and submissive. After several bouts of standing up to the king in regard to her freedom and the freedom of the people, Ester remarks, “If I perish, I perish.” (Ester 4:16) God uses Ester’s boldness to free the Jews from oppression. God used Ester’s bold faith in mighty ways.
Ruth: Ruth 1-4
Loss. Grief. Fear. These were the feelings of Ruth as she mourned the death of her husband. Yet, in that moment, Ruth knew her mother-in-law had no one to stand with her. Ruth was loyal and trusting. She left the comfort of her home and followed her mother-in-law to the land of a people who would probably reject her. She chose to trust in the God of these people. She didn’t know if she’d be accepted or rejected, loved or rebuked. Her big faith was displayed as she lovingly provided for her mother-in-law by gathering food in the fields of Boaz. She trusted that God would care for her, for her mother-in-law, and for their future. It was a quiet and timid trust. Want to know what happened? The loving and gentle Boaz made Ruth his bride. Together, they bore a son, who also had a son. Ruth’s grandson – Jesse – was the father of David.
Rahab: Joshua 2, Joshua 6
Risk. Betrayal. Courage. Rahab was a woman of big faith in the midst of wild emotions and crazy circumstances. Two men burst into her home. They were Jewish spies, seeking to determine the best way to destroy the Canaanites living in Jericho. Rahab did not respond with timidness, but with strength and conviction. She immediately hid the men, betrayed the trust of the Canaanite officers, and made a deal with the spies – “let my family & me live when you destroy Jericho and I won’t tell anyone you were here.” The plan prevails and Rahab lives to become a Christ-follower. She is a woman of strength and courage, trust and conviction. She helped the Jews reach the Promised Land. She took down a barrier in the way of the Lord.
Hannah: 1 Samuel 1-2
Sadness. Shame. Hope. Hannah is an incredible woman of big faith. Her story is one of remarkable sadness and the provision of a mighty God. Wife to Elkanah and mother to none, Hannah feels the incredible emptiness of her barren womb. Her husband marries another – a fertile woman with a knack for mockery. Hannah experiences the shame of her empty womb and cries out to God with big faith for a babe. She promises the baby to the Lord (1 Samuel 1:11), and when the baby is born, she holds true to her promise and takes Samuel to the tabernacle where Eli can teach Him the ways of the Lord. Hannah’s faith was that of hope and trust. She prayed like a wild woman, and the Lord answered her prayer. Not only did Hannah receive Samuel, but also five more children (1 Samuel 2:21).
You see, there is no “perfect” faith – according to the world standards, at least. And maybe that means there is no such thing as BIG faith. Maybe there is just faith – living your life for the Lord and devoting your heart, soul, body, and mind to His purposes.
And maybe, when we’re feeling hopelessness and scared and doubtful and misunderstood we should read stories like those above. Because these four women know that life won’t be easy.
But they do know that big faith means big love, big trust, big honesty, big sacrifice, and big courage.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13
Notice the trust. Notice the hope. And notice that it is by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Be encouraged, dear reader, to seek big faith not by the standards of the world, but by the standards of hope, trust, and reliance on the Spirit. See the transformational power in the lives of these four women?
Which Bible character is your favorite example of strong faith? One of the four listed above or another character? Share your ideas in the comments below!