Faith is simple, we are the ones who complicate it. :) Faith is only ethereal or intangible when we try to get a handle on it by trying to make it understandable. I think we do this because we have learned to find comfort in this world through the predictable, repeatable results often referred to as pragmatism (which says it's true because it works).
Because our senses tell us NOTHING about what we cannot see (perceive), taste, touch, hear, etc. we have come up with the concept that faith is a leap in the dark. But the dark is the unknown world of the blind, and faith does NOT describe the unfounded trust-factor of those who cannot see, but instead it describes the dependence upon that light who removed those who were once blind from their darkness.
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1
Consider this conviction. The dictionary defines it as:
An unshakable belief in something without need for proof or evidence.
What can cause unshakableness in the unseen realm? For the eyes that cannot see these invisible realities can only lean upon the supposed leap of faith, but the eyes that can see what is invisible to the perceptions of this world know that it is the miraculous work of the Son of God.
But aren't we afraid that these unshakable beliefs may be shown to be not so unshakable, especially since we have found that many of our past beliefs to be false? Once again, we are presented with a conflict that has its source in the false perceptions of the blindness from which we have been removed. How? We have readopted the old, dead definition of belief.
But don't worry, God is faithful to continually shine His light into the dark of those old perceptions. He takes joy in bringing us to see reality where there once was only illusion. You see, He keeps shaking that which is shakable so that our miraculous sight in Christ is not clouded by the continual fleshly insistence against what we are miraculously seeing.
Little by little we come to see that what we once considered beliefs are often merely the frameworks or systems by which we have structured information (Biblical or not) into an understandable form. It is NOT the truth itself that is the mis-perception, it is our PERCEIVED HANDLE on such truth that throws us for a loop.
Consider the fact that ALL beliefs have some kind of true premise or reality somewhere within them that has been altered and/or perverted by the logic of the natural mind. Our religious or doctrinal arguments revolve around the DEGREE of the perversion and/or alteration, which is why we argue points.
Our misconceptions stem from the fact that we were brought up as blind in this world of darkness and though everything we stumbled upon was real we misunderstood it because we could not see it and we gravitated toward the definitions that made the most sense to us given our particular experiences. Now, if we have been taken from the darkness by the miracle of sight we now see all things as they are! But as we insist upon blending those old perceptions into our new miraculous understanding we will gravitate toward those who had similar perceptions and we will end up insisting that this perspective (the new blend) is the truth.
The fact is that in Christ we having been seeing the invisible realities all along. The shaking is His gracious work in our lives - even though we often perceive it to be against us. As our formerly perceived essential structures and formulas fall in the process of the shaking we grow in the confidence that we have indeed been brought into NEW life! We discover that faith - the real conviction of things not seen - has been there since He brought us into new life, and that the struggle has been the result of our trying to hold the old structure together.