The step of faith rarely seems prudent. Prudence contemplates what can be perceived with the senses. Faith, according Hebrews 11:1 means being certain of what is not seen. Because we are physical beings living in a spiritual world, we need faith as a navigational aid. Much of Jesus’ discipling efforts were directed toward helping his followers rely on faith. Over and over again he pointed out those who exercised their faith or those who did not.
2 Corinthians 5:7 tells us “We live by faith, not by sight.” We grow in faith as we make decisions which seem illogical in that they have little if any basis in reality. So, how do we know when to exercise faith? First, we must be clear about His purposes and passions. They are a reliable guide to action. Second, we must listen for His voice. He will tell us when to act. Third, we must look for His hand. If He is at work, faith may impel us to join him in His work.
Steps of faith often seem to be big and periodic, whereas prudence should be ongoing in its impact. Faith frequently flies in the face of what seems prudent. But prudence should not be allowed to contravene what faith has apprehended. Not once do we see Jesus exclaiming over the prudence of a follower, but repeatedly he lauded those who saw with the eyes of faith. When faith speaks, prudence must be turned off. The walk of faith is always imprudent.
Most Christians live their lives having given lip service to faith. They never learn to trust the goodness of God and they never learn to hear the voice of God. So it is when the guard-rails of a comfortable existence are removed that the goodness of God can be made manifest. Sometimes in the crises of life, we lurch about, crying in desperation, “God where are you?” Only to be startled into a state of spiritual wakefulness when He answers, “I am here.”
While we, by nature, don’t want to have to trust a God we cannot see or understand, we are happiest when, having trusted Him, we have found Him trustworthy. Doing so at the time may have seemed imprudent, but in retrospect seems at once sage and courageous.