“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the convictions of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1
The richness of the lives that are spoken of in Hebrews 11 is undeniable. They willingly sacrificed, they walked with God, they crossed the sea on dry ground, they built boats before it had ever rained, they received their kids back from the dead, they were willing to postpone dreams for a greater dream in eternity.
They pleased God.
Hebrews 11 screams out to me that these men and women weren’t phony. They were real. Their faith wasn’t a psychological exercise or a warm thought around the Bible study table, but it was tangible and real. Their faith was visible and viable. It was all they had and it was more than enough. They acted on it, they lived by it and they never left it. Through their faith, God was more than willing to oblige them at every corner. It was as if God was addicted to being near this group of people who believed as much as He does.
Is my faith real?
Look at Moses and his willingness to give up all the world could offer him in exchange for SUFFERING! Why? Because he would rather be with God and His people than the comfort of this world.
Am I willing to make that trade?
“Choosing rather to endure ill-treatment with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin. Considering the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasure of Egypt; for he was looking to the reward.” Hebrews 11:25-26
Can I look past the fleeting moment of pleasure and see God as my reward?
How about the faith in Hebrews 11:30 that dropped the walls of concrete, and stone from around the most fortified city? In a moment, the most formidable obstacle in the way of God’s dream for His people was left to rubble as the curtain pulled back on the great OZ, Jericho was left exposed and defeated. Sheer faith had become a nuclear bomb in a march to God’s promise.
When was the last time I was a part of a faith movement that caused obstacles to fall and the unexplainable to happen?
Then there are the ‘Others’. Hebrews 11 takes a turn in verse 35. We are brought face to face with those whose story isn’t so bright at least on this side of eternity. We are reminded that faith doesn’t guarantee a beautiful ending in this world but rather, faith can, and in most instances will bring us face to face with sacrifice, suffering, and solitude. Before verse 35 the people are named but after verse 35 the names disappear. Why? Because the early stories (Noah, Moses, Abraham, etc) only happened to a few so the people are easy to identify. After verse 35 the suffering is so common it is much harder to name the people who lived out their faith and it cost them.
This leaves me with a final question…
Am I willing to live now for God and suffer for it believing that my reward will come later at His hands?