But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. - Acts 16:25
The Bible defines faith this way: "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen" (Hebrews 11:1). Another translation puts it this way: "Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see" (NLT).
The very existence of our faith, despite our circumstances, is a proof of God. We have the title deed. God has given us this proof, this confident assurance. It is instilled in us by God himself. And that is a powerful witness to a lost world that doesn't have faith.
We know from the stories of the early church how many of these courageous men and women, and sometimes even children, were martyred for their faith. Even as they were being executed, suffering horrible deaths, we read of them calling on the Lord and asking God to forgive the people who were doing this to them. And there are many accounts of their executioners coming to faith as a result of the Christians' faith in God as they went into His presence.
The story of Paul and Silas, who sang praises to God at midnight after being beaten and thrown into prison, is another evidence of faith. It resulted in the conversion of their jailers. Theirs wasn't a case of mind over matter. It was faith over circumstances. Paul and Silas didn't have the guaranteed assurance they ever would get out of that prison. But they were able to see things in perspective and have faith in the bleakest of circumstances.
So what does it mean when we say we should have faith? It means that we are hoping. We are trusting in God. In what circumstances do you need to exercise faith today?