Experience or Knowledge?

I don’t think before the age of 5 I was aware that bad things could happen.That changed when I was 5 years, 7 months and 26 days old. That was the day my father died and my life changed drastically. I cannot even begin to imagine the person I would be today if he was still alive. But the fact is that he died.

The next few years taught me that bad things keep happening. But then I also learnt that you survive. You keep on sleeping. You keep on waking. You keep eating, drinking and living. It took a lot longer to realise that though bad things do happen, and they keep happening and you keep surviving, that my survival wasn't down to me. I didn't survive because of my strength or my perseverance or my way of life. I survived because of God’s grace.

The day I realised this, I found faith in God. It has always been said that tribulations increase your faith because you see in practice that God can and does save you. Well, I have had enough tribulations to test that theory and found it to be true. However this is my question, is it the experience of tribulations that causes the increase in faith or the knowledge you gain from the tribulations that leads to an increase in faith?

In Matthew 8, there are 2 contrasting examples. The first one is of a centurion that knew and understood Jesus’ power. This centurion’s understanding meant he believed that he could get what he asked for and because he believed, he received it.

The second example involves Jesus’ disciples who followed Him on a daily basis. They found themselves in the midst of a storm and were so afraid that they frantically woke Jesus up to save them and after Jesus calmed the storm they began to wonder who He was. They were with Him every day and they still wondered who He was.

In both examples they both had tribulations. The centurion in the first example hadn't personally experienced God’s power. The disciples in the second example had experienced and seen Jesus’ power on multiple occasions. The centurion in the first example had a knowledge and understanding of how Jesus’ power worked; the disciples in the second example didn't seem to have an understanding of how Jesus’ power worked or who He was. The centurion in the first example had great faith, the disciples in the second example had "little" faith.

The disciples with all that experience had no knowledge, so they had "little" faith. The centurion had little experience, but with only his knowledge he had great faith. This shows that when we have problems it’s not the being rescued from the problems that give us faith that we will be rescued again in the future. The increase of faith is because of what we learn about God, His nature and His power when He rescues us. When we know who God is, then we can totally trust Him to be our Saviour. We can believe when He says though we go through tribulations, He will deliver us. We can approach every situation, knowing that we have already overcome because He will deliver us.

So here’s my point if you want to grow in faith, instead of waiting for tribulation after tribulation to learn about God, just read His word. Notice that during the storm, Jesus Christ was sleeping. He was sleeping because He knows who He is and He knows who His Father is. He knew He was safe. Next time, you have a problem instead of searching for help wherever you can, worrying and basically freaking out, wouldn't it be nice to be calm and unaffected (as Jesus was) knowing that God is more than able to deliver you.

I think it’s the easier way to grown in faith. What do you think?

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