Seeing & Believing
I was recently asked if there were any empirical evidence, any measurable data, for faith "working." The person wanted to know if there existed concrete evidence for "person believed x, then x happened," when x would have been impossible under other circumstances. It's an interesting question, but a common one in our scientific (and scientistic) age.
My first thought was Hebrews 11:1: "Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see" (NIV). The King James is more accurate here, particularly in the last clause: "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." "Evidence," "proof," or "proving" is the right word there. So at first blush, faith and scientific evidence may not go together: one claims to be proof of the unseen, but the other deals only in the seen.
But that wasn't really my friend's question, I realized, and so my second thought was miracles. We have innumerable records of the scientifically impossible happening fairly regularly as a result of faith. Many people don't believe in them or try to discount them in some way, but that doesn't change the fact we possess medical records -- verified scientific documentation -- proving these things happened as a result of a display of faith.
Perhaps the best evidence, though, is the personal. We all know people whose lives were totally changed because of their faith. Personalities became kind and gentle. Addictions were immediately broken without adverse effects from withdrawal. Good habits replaced bad. And all because the individual came to a saving faith in Jesus Christ. That's the kind of faith that "works."
Sometimes seeing is believing. And sometimes we believe without seeing. But I believe that one day, my faith shall be my eyes, and I shall finally see Him in whom I have believed -- and it will be better than I ever imagined.