The True Test of Faith

Yael Eckstein  |  June 28, 2023

Maya, elderly Jewish woman from Ukraine, receiving care from The Fellowship during rocket attacks on Netivot, Israel, May 2023

They spoke against God;
    they said, “Can God really
    spread a table in the wilderness?
True, he struck the rock,
    and water gushed out,
    streams flowed abundantly,
but can he also give us bread?
    Can he supply meat for his people?”
— Psalm 78:19-20

In Judaism, faith is more a verb; it is something that we do, rather than something we have. These devotions explore the idea of faith as living out our lives in a way that reflects our belief and trust in God. Enjoy!

In the mid-1800s, a man known as the Great Blondin attempted to cross Niagara Falls on a tightrope. Five thousand people gathered to watch. In the middle of the walk Blondin suddenly stopped, backflipped into the air, landed on the rope, and then continued safely to the other side. Blondin would cross the Falls many more times—once blindfolded, once carrying a stove, once in chains, and once on a bicycle.

One time, he showed up with a wheelbarrow. Blondin turned to the crowd and shouted, “Who believes that I can cross pushing this wheelbarrow?” Every hand in the crowd went up. Blondin pointed at one man.

“Do you believe that I can do it?” he asked. “Yes, I believe you can,” said the man. “Are you sure?” said Blondin. “Yes,” said the man. “Absolutely certain?” “Yes, absolutely certain.” “Thank you,” said Blondin. “Then, sir, get into the wheelbarrow.”

While this story is humorous, it contains a very deep lesson about faith. The man in the crowd had faith in his head; he had seen enough to believe that Blondin could walk across the falls with a wheelbarrow. But acting on that faith is another matter entirely.

The True Test of Faith

This story can help us understand the biblical story of the children of Israel after the Exodus from Egypt. After witnessing the Ten Plagues and the splitting of the Red Sea, how is it that they kept losing faith?

As we read in the Book of Psalms, “They spoke against God; they said, “Can God really spread a table in the wilderness? True, he struck the rock, and water gushed out, streams flowed abundantly, but can he also give us bread? Can he supply meat for his people?”

No matter how many miracles they experienced, the children of Israel repeatedly questioned God. In the end, this was the generation that perished in the desert, never to make it to the Promised Land. And maybe that’s the lesson. The true test of faith is not what we say we believe; it’s how we act based on that belief.

And that’s the challenge for us. Even as we profess our faith in God, do we really wonder as the children of Israel did whether God is with us?

Your Turn:

Are your choices consistent with faith? Are you stepping into the wheelbarrow? Let God know that you trust that He is with you.