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Dare to Believe 

The dictionary defines the word “dare”, as having the boldness to venture a risk. In other words, a dare doesn’t assume certainty, but holds a question mark. Will your investments make a lucrative return? Will your proposal be approved? Are you sure your novel idea will work? Life is filled with dares, and faith is one of them.  

Some of you whisper a correction. You remind me of Hebrew’s assertion that faith is certainty. Faith is not a dare with a question mark at the end of it! Faith is the assurance of that which is promised. I do not argue. I agree with the clarity and confidence of faith. Faith is courageous conviction - at least mature faith is. But mature faith is not instant. We grow into it by passing through mystery and risking the challenge of faith’s dare. I have a story to back that up.  

Jesus crossed the border of Israel into the Gentile region of Tyre and Sidon. A Canaanite mother cries to Jesus on behalf of her daughter, oppressed by demonic darkness. Jesus hears her calls and ignores her. The pain of her heart pushed her to persist. She pesters the disciples with her pleas. When the disciples’ patience ran out, they call to Jesus to do something! The twelve huddle around Jesus as He explains the priority of His mission. Suddenly the mother breaks into the huddle. She drops to her knees and begs. Jesus is still hesitant. He tells her that the children’s bread should not be fed to the dogs. Stop there for a moment. Would you have turned away rejected? Would you have felt insulted? Would you go home and explain to your sick daughter that you tried your best? All of that is possible, but not for this mother. She whispers to Jesus that even dogs eat table scraps from the floor. I believe Jesus smiled. With delight in her answer and joy in the giving, He proclaims, “Great is your faith!” And her daughter was instantly healed.  

What made her faith great? Faith believes that Jesus has power to heal. Faith trusts in His will and wisdom to heal. But buried below the doctrinal convictions of God’s power and love lies a greater faith. She had the audacity to hope that despite her unworthiness, she might find mercy. She persisted through the silence of Jesus and pushed past His rebuff. Against every reason to think otherwise, she hoped there may be grace for her. That is a daring faith.  

The risk of faith is not about what God can do or what He will do. The risk is more personal. Will He answer despite who I am and what I’ve done. When I’ve squandered second chances, can I look for another? When I’ve asked for too much, can there more? When I have no merit to stand on, but pray regardless, I am stripped to the bareness of faith. Dare we hope that unworthy as we are, we can find crumbs? Jesus smiles and offers a feast to those who dare to believe.